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N 7350.F3T'" ""'""""^ ^"""^ 

The Masters of Ukioye 










JANUARY, 1896 


W. H. Ketcham 


h^^l'l^f (^ 

Copyright, 1896 



Ube Iftnlcfierbocftet press, 'Bew 'Kocbelte, «. M. 


In arranging a chronological exhibition of works by the Masters of the 
XJkioye, or Popular School of Japanese Artists, Mr. Ketcham has rendered a 
service to students and lovers of Japanese Art for which they should be very 
grateful. That the exhibition has been undertaken partly for commercial 
reasons does not lessen the obligation. In addition to the selections made 
from Mr. Ketcham's extensive stock, it includes also, through the kindness of 
their owners in loaning them for the occasion, a large proportion of the finest 
and most beautiful works belonging to private collections in the United 
States. Nothing like it has ever been attempted before. For the first time 
does a connected series of paintings and prints by all of the leading artists of 
this school, hung together in proper sequence, make it possible to gain a 
comprehensive view of the history of Ukioye art through all the phases of 
its rise, development, and decay. Especially is this true as regards the 
Nishikiyi, or color prints from wood blocks, which are the most distinctive 
product of the school. Here may be seen rare proof-impressions from early 
blocks, which are printed in soUd black, with no attempt at gradations of 
tone. The several varieties of hand-colored prints are represented by many 
fine examples. Then in the Nishikiye proper may be traced the growing 
mastery of the artists over the resources of the printer's craft. The works of 
the earlier men are notable for combined vigor of conception and sweetness 
of line, rather than for especial beauty of color. There is, however, a charm 
in their quiet simplicity which is lacking in the works of later periods ; and 
some of the prints for which, in addition to the black outline, but two tint- 
blocks were used, are exquisitely lovely in color, as well as wonderful 
achievements in design. After Torii Kiyomitsu began the use of a third 
color-block, the rivalry between many able artists resulted in rapid prog- 
ress, imtil the art reached its highest development in strength and beauty 
of design, in richness and variety of color, and in perfection of printing, in 
the time of the great master Torii Kiyonaga and his contemporaries. The 
works shown in this exhibition make it possible to follow this development 
throughout, and to trace the subsequent decline of the art, at first gradual, 
then more rapid, as the creative impulse which stimulated the masters of the 
eighteenth century died out, and little was left beyond mere delight in 


technical proficiency. The brief renaissance due to the genius of Hokusai 
and Hiroshige is illustrated by some superb examples of their finest produc- 
tions. That few works of their contemporaries and followers are shown 
is not because the art became extinct after the death of these men, but for 
the reason that their aesthetic value is so small. 

It was a happy idea to show paintings and prints in connection with 
each other. Only by seeing both together is it possible to gain more than a 
one-sided and incomplete view of the aims and evolution of the school. 
Many of the Ukioye artists were both painters and designers of prints. 
Some of them were painters only ; others made but few drawings for repro- 
duction ; whilst others gave their attention so exclusively to print-designing, 
that few, and in some cases no, paintings by them are known to exist. Nor 
was it unusual even for some of the most renowned designers of Nishikiye 
to suddenly give up drawing for publishers and thereafter devote themselves 
to painting alone. 

In still another respect this exhibition is unique. Thanks to the able 
assistance of Mr. Ernest F. Fenollosa of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 
the pictures and prints are shown with the dates accurately ascribed to them. 
Of Mr. Fenollosa' s qualifications for this work it is scarcely necessary to 
speak, as he is well known as pre-eminently the most competent authority 
upon the history of Oriental Art in the Far West. But it may be of interest 
to state that the determination of dates has been reached by a most careful 
comparison of a very large number of works. To this task he brought the 
critical methods of the modem scientific investigator, the penetrative insight 
of the student of Oriental philosophy, the fine perception of the artist, and the 
intimate knowledge of Japanese manners and customs acquired during his 
twelve years' residence in Dai Nippon. Aside from the internal evidence of 
the changes in each artist's manner from year to year, the costumes depicted, 
taken in connection with records of contemporaneous events, and especially 
the history of the theatre, have furnished the most reliable index. For in 
Japan, no less than in the Occident, fashion has held tyrannical sway from 
time immemorial. The changes have, perhaps, been within a narrower range 
in Japan than in Europe during the last one hundred and fifty years, but they 
have been no less frequent. From the style of a woman's coifiiire alone it is 
often possible to determine the date of a print or painting ; and taken in con- 
nection with the fashion of the garments depicted, the manner of wearing the 
obi, and the patterns of the brocades, even the season of the year may some- 
times be arrived at with reasonable certainty. 

The Popular School of Japanese Art is different from all the other 
schools, in that it is the art of the common people. If it did not, even in its 
palmiest days, give to the world works which touch the highest note in the 
gamut of artistic production, or arrive at the dignity of the classical schools, 
we are indebted to it for the most beautiful specimens of the printers' art 
which have ever been executed in any land or at any time. To this state- 
ment the present exhibition bears eloquent testimony. And from it another 


valuable lesson may be gleaned by those who have eyes to see. And that is 
that even the most trivial and commonplace subject may be so presented as 
to invest it with aesthetic value. It would be difficult, indeed, to find more 
striking examples of the truth that Art lies in treatment, and that the real 
subject of the artist is not necessarily the nominal one, but what he expresses 
by means of it. 

Frkdkrick W. Gookin. 


i. IwASA Matahei About 1630. 

Painting on a screen of two panels. 

A lad}' with musical instrument and pupil. 

The Ukioye is a school of Japanese painting and print designing, 
which for the last three centuries has been the special organ of ex- 
pression for the common people. Its artists, sprung mostly from the 
ranks of the people, confined their subjects to the occupations and 
recreations of their class. Kvery change of fashion in the gay life of 
the capital at Yedo was faithfully followed in their drawings ; and 
thus the Ukioye, unlike the hieratic and idealistic schools of earlier 
days, has the charm of being a complete mirror of Japanese life. At 
first confined to painting, it soon spread with the discovery of block 
printing into book illustration ; and still later into the elaborate single 
sheet print which could be used on the wall for a cheap picture. When 
these prints, at first colored by hand, became embellished with flat tints 
printed from wooden blocks, the most splendid results of the school 
were reached. 

The founder of this school was Iwasa Matahei. Previous to his 
day, the end of the sixteenth century, Japanese art and civilization 
were dominated by Chinese ideals, as were the nations of mediaeval 
Europe by classic tradition. But the overthrow of the Ashikaga 
court, and the rise to power of upstarts like Hideyoshi, brought Jap- 
anese life and character again into the field of interest. It is true that 
scenes of native court life and of earlier dynastic wars had been occa- 
sionally painted by the court artists of the Kano and Tosa schools ; 
Taut with Matahei began the painting of contemporary life, or genre; 
and his are the first of the long and full series we possess of scenes in 
the life of Japanese women of the middle and lower classes. 

Matahei was first a pupil of the ancient Tosa school, later of the Kano. 
His third manner, of about 1620, fuses and enriches the two styles 
by a new line-drawing of expressive beauty and clinging grace. His 
fourth and last manner is a rise to complete realistic rendering, whose 
force absorbs, but does not destroy the grace of outline. His work is 
confined to painting, and is extremely rare. 

This specimen of Matahei is one of the finest and largest remaining' 
of his fourth manner. The easy pose of the large figures, the fine 
but not over-graceful flow of line, the careful drawing of details as in 
the hands, the breadth of the main masses, and especially the strong 
contrast of the black and white robes, all contribute to its striking- 
force. Nothing at once so simple, and yet so full of the feeling of 
real presence, occurs again in the course of Ukioye. 

2. School of Matahei About 1650. 

Painting on a small panel. 

Female dancer. 
The new movement begun so brilliantly by Matahei found no worthy 
continuator for a generation. Whether the interest in Japanese sub- 
jects temporarily waned on the founding of the new tyranny at Yedo, 
whether the people of the new capital were yet unconscious of a life 
and standard apart from the nobility, or whether the genius of 
Matahei was too personal for transmission, it is clear that between 
1630 and 1670 only a scattered series of weak imitations was produced, 
mostly unsigned, and with no common quality of style to merit the 
name of school. It is a sort of interregnum in Ukioye, with no 
dominant master. 

This painting is a good average specimen of the work. While far 
inferior to Matahei in drawing, in the large quality of the dress design 
and in the fine color it reminds of his day. 

3. HiSHIGAWA MORONOBU. .... . About I675. 

I<arge print in black. 

An incident of a historic battle. 

I^ent by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 

During the interregnum the newly discovered art of book illustration 
offered the most hopeful line of advance. The block cutting became 
stronger and freer, more like the stroke of the Japanese pen. About 
1770 Moronobu, a designer of extraordinary power, entered this field, 
and produced the first in that rich series of woodcuts of Japanese life 
which culminates in the present century with Hokusai. Relying 
upon the extraordinary force of his ink-strokes and the fine simple 
massing of his blacks, he cared little to embellish the design with 
landscape background or fine detail. His earliest works are the 
strongest in this respect, and are eagerly sought for by book col- 

Even before Moronobu' s day there had been an attempt to cheapen 
pictorial production by an issue of editions of rapid brush sketches, 
called Otsuye. These probably gave Moronobu the clew to the single 
sheet print, into which he now threw the finest qualities of his book 
illustration. They were generally left in the black impression of the 

single *block ; but sometimes touched by hand with spots of orange 
and green after the manner of the Otsuye. 

This is one of the earliest of Moron obu's large single sheet impres- 
sions, showing his most vigorous design and splendid massing of the 
flat blacks. Its subject does not properly belong to the Ukioye, but 
to the illustration of history. 

MoRONOBu . . About 1780. 

Painting on a panel. 

Female figure, walking. 

Moronobu was not only a designer of ink prints, but a painter also. 
In this line he took the traditions of the Matahei school as a starting 
point ; but his early training as a designer for embroideries tended to 
enrich the sharp color details of his dress patterns. Here his com- 
mand of strong line is deliberately sacrificed to delicate grace, yet one 
feels the draughtsman under the faint lines. He introduced a gay 
sunny coloring in which red and white predominate. 

His work first does justice to the splendid coiffure of the Japanese 
female head, whose forms become exceedingly large and rich between 
1780 and 1790, and whose subsequent rapid variations afford a most 
important key to the determination of dates. 

This specimen is a good example of the style described. There has 
been no such grace of posture and flowing line since the days of Ma- 
tahei. The design of the costume is bizarre and cut up, showing 
something of the extravagance in which the dawning consciousness 
of a popular taste ran away with itself toward the close of the 

Moronobu About 1690. 

Large ink print. 

Standing court lady. 

Moronobu' s style may be said to have come to its ripeness at the be- 
ginning of the famous period Genroku, 1688. It combines the firm- 
ness of line of his earlier prints with the delicate design and proportion 
of his paintings. The figures become more stately, the heads more 
solid. Paintings of this date and book illustrations abound. But a 
single sheet print is the rarity of a collection. 

This is the finest large single sheet print in the manner of Morono- 
bu's Genroku paintings. It establishes the first ripe style since the 
days of Matahei. It marks the second and permanent founding of 
Ukioye as a separate branch of Japanese pictorial art. It achieves a 
self-conscious mastery that can be taught. Moronobu has hosts of 
pupils in his atelier. A school has been founded. 

Moronobu About 1794. 

Painting on a kakemono. 
Picnic by a river's bank. 


The populace of Genroku was given over to every sort of extrava- 
gance and gay dissipation. The world was full of fairs and puppet 
shows and wild street dances. As ever fond of out-of-door enjoyments 
they delighted in picnics, in drinking and music, in boating parties 
and horse races. Though the patterns were not large, the widest 
license was granted in the color of costumes. Soft, indescribable 
shades of pink and blue and green shot like the threads of their own 
shuttles through the warp of the blossoming boughs. In technique 
Moronobu's landscape detail was much like that of the Kano. He 
delighted in long panoramic rows of street scenes crowded with fig- 
ures. The effect is always refined and brilliant, even if a little hard. 
It is this style which became the most common with his many follow- 
ers, and is often reproduced on screens as late as 1715. 

This is a typical specimen of Moronobu's last manner and of the 
school in general. It renders for us in color the rich figure composi- 
tions of his illustrated books. 

7. MiYAGAWA Choshun About 1710. 

Painting on small screen of two panels. 

Interior with group of girls. 

When after the death of Moronobu it became demonstrated that his 
pupils could conceive of nothing else than reproducing his manner, a 
revolt was quickly started by four young men at the commencement 
of the eighteenth century. The self-consciousness of the people was 
becoming too strong, too antagonistic to the formality of the Samu- 
rai's life, to allow any new tyranny to spring up in its own ranks. 
Provided it did not interfere with politics, it was granted by the gov- 
ernment free license for enjoyment ; and one of the greatest and new- 
est of its enjoyments was art. Even the art of Moronobu was seen to 
be too hard and formal, partaking of the classic purity of Kano 
design. The aim of these younger men was to create an art as rich 
and free and new as their own lives. Rejecting all trace of idealism, 
it frankly loses itself in pleasure and splendor. But here, fortu- 
nately for the Ukioye, it creates a new ideal for itself in the concep- 
tion of this splendor. In line it substitutes for the restrained grace of 
its predecessors a decorative abandon and sumptuousness in drapery. 
In pattern it avoids the patches of small design characteristic of Gen- 
roku, and delights in large plaids, suggestions of flowers and leaves, 
and sudden changes in the ground color, which give scope for a more 
organic treatment in the harmony. The color, as such, no longer con- 
ceived in conventional costume, discovers laws and beauties of its 
own. It is especially in its coloring that Ukioye now adds a new and 
splendid note to the sum of Japanese art. 

Of these young contemporaries Miyagawa Choshun, himself a 
pupil of Moronobu, strikes in painting the new note. A more crea- 


tive colorist than Moronobu, he never designed for illustration for 
single sheet prints. And yet a study of the history of Ukioye, even 
of the prints, would, without him, lose one of its strongest links. 
His subjects are much like those of Moronobu, picnic and street 
scenes, or portraits of noted belles ; but the new method of drawing 
the strange patterns so as to enhance the sweep of the drapery, and 
their conception as factors in a creative color-scheme, give his work a 
softness and breadth which are its distinguishing features. He is the 
centre of a large group of painters who, if not always his personal 
pupils, borrow from him these characteristics. 

This beautiful clear sample of Choshun's middle manner exempli- 
fies well the points made. In the group at the right of the screen, 
especially, every touch palpitates with color sensitiveness. Strange 
harmonious culminations of line and tone are everywhere developed. 

8. Choshun About 1720. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Standing girl and attendant. 

Here is an exemplification of Choshun's latest manner. The touch 
of the brush is intensely strong and nervous, the contrasts more vio- 
lent, the figures taller and the heads less square. It is probably a 
great loss to art that Choshun never attempted prints. 

9. MiYAGAWA Choki About 1725. 

Painting on a panel. 

I^ady reading under a willow tree. 

Choki is the son of Choshun and one of the most original of his fol- 
lowers, who, like their master, devote themselves entirely to painting. 
The qualities of breadth developed by the father are still present in the 
son, but united to a strange thickness of color which pursues the 
Ukioye in his wandering from classic paths. But it is rich and splen- 
did and revels in color scales before unsounded. 

10. MiYAGAWA Shunsui About 1740. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Lady washing her hair. 

Shunsui, possibly a second son of Choshun, but certainly a personal 
pupil, carries the line of the sweet painting of female subjects down 
through the very centre of the seventeenth century, unmingled with 
the quality of contemporary theatrical schools which we shall pres- 
ently consider. His work is always original, full of distinction, and 
subtle in color. It is not without reason, as we shall see, that this 
work foreshadows much of the gentle delineation of women so much 
better known in Harunobu. 

11. Katsukawa Shunsui About 1750. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

I^ady in black. 

Some have said tbat this Shunsui is a pupil of the former ; but a com- 
parison of their styles and handwriting confirms another tradition, 
that Shunsui in later life determined to change his family name. Un- 
der the name of Katsukawa he worked at least within the limits of the 
years 1750 and 1765. This new name interests us because it was that 
taken by his famous pupil Katsukawa Shunsho, the teacher of the still 
more famous Hokusai. Through this name one main line of descent 
in the history of Ukioye is manifest. 

In Shunsui's later work his style and color pass from the exquisite- 
ness of broken masses to the exquisiteness of simple breadth. In this 
work is foreshadowed the technical qualities of Shunsho' s well known 
painting. Toward the end of his life a few prints with his signature 
appear, but exercise no special influence. 

12. TsuNEYUKi About 1725. 

Painting on circular panel. 

Girls playing at football. 
I^et us now go back to another of the pupils or personal friends of 
Choshun. This man, Tsuneyuki, one of the greatest artists of Uki- 
oye, is unmentioned in its written annals. The refinement of his feel- 
ing, the quality of his touch, as in the tree trunk, and the first charac- 
ter of his name, make it extremely probable that he was first a pupil 
of Kano Tsunenobu before he entered this freer, if humbler field. But 
in the breadth and originality of his color he is a true son of Ukioye 
and Choshun's strongest successor. In the group of figures on the 
right the newness of the disposition of patterns is finely brought out. 

13. TsuNEMASA About 1768. 

Painting on a panel. 

Girl seated at a tea-house. 
Here is another artist exceptionally prolific whose work in painting 
extends over a period from 1720 to 1770, but whose name is barely 
mentioned in the history of the Ukioye. Throughout he is a broad and 
original colorist. His early work is exactly in the style of Tsuneyuki, 
whose pupil he unquestionably was. I^ater it is clear that he fell 
under the influence of Shunsui ; and in a sense it may be said that in 
connection with Shunsui he heads the great school of painters of 
women through the transition period of the century. The likeness of 
his feeling to that of Harunobu is here the more strongly noticeable 
than in the case of Shunsui, in that he is a contemporary of Harunobu. 


14- TsuNEMASA About 1770. 

Painting on a kakemon. 

Street scene on New Year's day. 

Here the similarity to Harunobu is enforced by the fact of the color in 
the architectural background which forms an organic relation to the 
color in the figures. The sweet femininity of these slight willowy 
forms is surpassed only by those of Harunobu himself. 

J5. Kaigetsudo About 1708. 

Painting on a panel. 

I,arge standing girl. 

But of all the painters who carried on the movement headed by 
Choshun by far the most powerful and striking was Kaigetsudo. In 
spite of his mannerisms and the smallness of his heads, hands, and 
feet, the lines of his drapery are conceived and executed with a 
passionate splendor, in which the power of the Japanese brush to 
modulate the thickness of its stroke is like the fulness of tone from 
some great wind instrument. Here the master stroke lies in the fold 
at the neck and in the system of long curves into which the hems of 
the skirts are caught up by the right hand. Kaigetsudo is also an 
original colorist of the greatest breadth, but lacking somewhat in the 
refinement of Choshun. He may be regarded as in some sense a con- 
necting link between the school of Choshun and that of Kiyonobu, 
which we have soon to describe. 

36. Kaigetsudo. About 1705. 

Large ink print. 

Young girl swinging her sleeve. 

What splendors Kaigetsudo could create as a master of line and 
of dark and light alone are here fully exhibited. The sweep of the 
lines of the lighter undergarment, in whose folds the raised left hand 
is hidden, coming into opposition with the falling darker, stifier mass 
of the cast-ofi" outer sleeve, creates the most startlingly original line 
scheme in the whole range of the art. What composition in dark and 
light, too, can mean for its own sake, is revealed in the heavy, clouded 
passages shot with the white lightning of poetic characters. 

17. Kaigetsudo. About 17 10. 

I^arge ink print. 

Girl seated upon a box. 

Ivcnt by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
This specimen of line work in print, by the only man of the Choshun 
school who has left us any, is hardly less striking and original than 
the preceding. The system of lines about the legs suggests in force 
and grandeur the religious paintings of Ririomin, the great Chinese 
artist of the eleventh century. It is notable that at this date the 
arrangement of the hair is the simplest and most solid of any period ia 


the three centuries of Ukioye. In works by Kaigetsudo various 
names appear signed under the main one. The commonest of these 
are Takuhan and Anchi. It is not certain whether these are different 
men or the same. Both these prints are by Takuhan. 

1 8. Okumura Masanobu About 1700. 

Print colored by hand. 

A street procession with puppets. 

Of the four young men who at the commencement of the eighteenth 
century struck out into new paths diverging from the art of Moro- 
nobu, the school of one, namely, Choshun, we have studied to its latest 
developments in the third generation. We must now go back and 
see what the other three young men were doing. These three were 
Torii Kiyonobu, Torii Kiyomasu, and Okumura Masanobu. All had 
been trained in the more classic style of Moronobu. All aimed now 
to be the leaders in a popular movement, of whose separate art they 
had become conscious. While all three were painters of distinction, it 
is because, unlike Choshun, they devoted their attention primarily 
to the art of printing, that they were destined to exercise such a 
dominating influence upon the whole course of the Ukioye. I,iving 
and working, all three, to the ripe age of something like eighty, with- 
out exhaustion of their creative powers, their influence continued 
supreme over three generations. It is not an exaggeration to say- 
that nine-tenths of the Ukioye during the first half of the last century 
is their work. In spite of personal peculiarities, they form together, 
with their prints and their peculiar coloring, a line quite separate from, 
and parallel to that of Choshun. 

If Matahei was the originator of the Ukioye idea, and Moronobu 
the father of its art, these three men can be regarded as the founders 
of its distinctive style. They had a new world to mirror, new techni- 
cal methods to invent. At first their subjects remind us of those of 
Moronobu ; but almost from the first a new motive enters into their 
work with the development at Yedo of the legitimate theatre under 
Japan's first great actor, Danjuro, of whom the present Danjuro is the 
tenth descendent. That this histrionic art, shunned by the nobility, 
was rapidly becoming an organ of self-expression for the common peo- 
ple, destined to create out of them almost a new race, gave to these 
artists not only a multiplicity of popular and ever-varying groups to de- 
pict, but also the spur to develop the single sheet print as a rival organ. 
Under Moronobu such prints had been rare ; now they were issued in 
editions of hundreds and thousands, and exported to the provinces. 
Another difference is that up to this day Ukioye had been chiefly the 
art of the more conservative Kioto. It now became the art of Yedo, 
which was rising into prominence as a centre of gayety and fashion, 
like Paris in France. Still another line was opened in the develop- 



ment of fiction as an important art to whose illustration these three 
men contributed the lighter phase of their prolific powers. It is to 
the dates upon these novelettes that we have to rely in identifying the 
years of the rapidly changing single sheet prints. 

From now on we have to distinguish more carefully between periods 
marked by technical changes. It is not possible properly to group 
the art of any one of these three men by itself We must deal with 
each phase of their common work in the group, noting such minor 
differences as from time to time arise. The first period is that which 
lasts firom about 1700 to about 1715 ; and is characterized chiefly by 
bold, rich line-work analogous to that of Kaigetsudo. The prints, 
many of them of large size, are for the most part left in black and 
white ; and their occasional coloring by hand was probably confined 
to the artist's treatment of individual impressions, not lavished upon a 
whole edition. 

Masanobu, whose work we now first reach, was probably the oldest 
of the three, and the most graceful and refined in his personal style. 
His design from first to last is full of sweetness and distinction. In 
this specimen we have a subject that shows clearly his derivation from 
Moronobu ; but in the pose and motions and easy flow of drapery we 
find a greater vitaUty even than in that of Choshun. The Genroku 
type of coiffure is now becoming simpler, the fore-knot which formerly 
stood upright being now bent over and caught near the back of the 
head. Such full hand-coloring is at this day extremely rare ; and was, 
not improbably, executed twenty years later, possibly by Masanobu 

Masanobu About 1704. 

Large ink print. 
Tall standing lady. 

This is a very strange piece, and exhibits in another way the transi- 
tion from Moronobu. Its anomaly consists in the difference between 
the body and the head. The former in proportion, drapery, and 
stilted spotted pattern is almost indistinguishable from the style of 
Genroku, and the personal manner of Moronobu. It seems a remi- 
niscence of 1695. But the head is unquestionably by Masanobu, with 
the unmistakable head-dress of the period Hoyei. The fore-knot 
has now been drawn over close to the top of the head, and the side 
locks lie perfectly flat above the ear. It is uncertain whether Masa- 
nobu here made use of an older block by Moronobu, into which he 
plugged and cut a new head ; or whether he designed his patterns in 
the Genroku style, which for certain purposes, and in certain places, 
had not yet gone entirely out of fashion. It is noticeable that the 
design upon the obi or sash is entirely in the new manner ; and this 
favors the latter hypothesis that the work is all Masanobu's. 


20. ToRii KiYONOBU. . . About 1702. 

Ink print. 

Two women and a man playing a game. 

Kiyonobu, the great founder of the Torii school, which has lasted to 
the present day, was in some respects at first the central figure of the 
new group. If Masanobu's style is sweet and feminine, his from the 
first is almost uncouth in its rotund simplicity, and apparently law- 
less disposition of large design. His faces are long and oval, with 
hooked noses, and eyes whose pupils thrown, to the corner, give that 
peculiar look distinctive of the Torii for generations. It was his work 
particularly that the aristocratic despisers of Ukioye, and of the popu- 
lar pleasures it depicted, regarded as the sign of degeneration, and con- 
demned as hopelessly vulgar. Yet it was this style which, breaking 
so utterly with the past, opened a way for all the characteristic splen- 
dors of the future. 

21. Kiyonobu About 1702. 

Ink print. 

Women at toilet. 

This in line and mass is a still richer specimen. The large, character- 
istic flower patterns are finely disposed upon the standing figure. The 
solidity of the composition is notable. 

22. Kiyonobu About 1704. 

Print colored by hand. 

Group of two actors. 
While Kiyonobu's early interest in female subjects was a survival of 
Moronobu's, his acquaintance with Danjuro and familiarity with the 
new theatre led him into printing designs illustrating the finer mo- 
ments of the new plays. The interest manifested in this work led him 
soon to make it his specialty ; and thus his designs head that long 
series of actor prints which have been the delight of Yedo. All the 
designing, too, for the daily bills, for the guild of actors, and for the 
the theatrical advertisement generally, fell into his hands, and have 
been monopolized by his Torii descendants to this day. 

This is a rare specimen of Kiyonobu's very early actor designing, 
^sthetically it has all the characteristics of the piece last described. 
Its postures give the first hint of those which with his successors 
became conventional in such subjects. The use of the color, particu- 
larly of the orange (red lead or tan), is the commencement of a new 
practice, at first desultory, but which a few years later, becoming 
habitual, gives rise to the technical name Tanye or orange painting. 

23. Kiyonobu About 1706. 

lyarge ink print. 

Standing lady. 

This is one of the finest and rarest pieces in the collection. It exhibits 
Kiyonobu's power of line design at its strongest. His pen is less 


formal than Kaigetsudo's, more like the dash of Japanese brush 
strokes in writing. The grand disposition of large pattern marks the 
freedom of the new style, in which the daring introduction of figure 
designs on fans is a striking feature. 

24. ToRii KiYOMASU About 1706. 

I,arge ink print. 

Girl with battledore at New Year's. 

Kiyomasu, the alter ego of Kiyonobu, is set down in the books as the 
second of the Torii line ; and one might be led to infer that he was 
Kiyonobu' s son. But the fact remains that his earliest work appears 
almost contemporary with that of Kiyonobu, and accompanies the 
changes in that master's style for fifty years to their almost simulta- 
neous death. It seems, therefore, practically impossible that he was 
Kiyonobu's son ; but he was probably either a twin or younger brother. 
Even had he lived but a day after the latter' s death without issue, he 
would have been reckoned the heir. Yet is he no blind follower. 
Rather does it appear as if Kiyonobu had two brains and pairs of 
hands through which he might multiply and diversify his conceptions. 
Some indeed may consider Kiyomasu the stronger designer of the 
pair ; and in these earlier days his work, more frequently met with, 
seems to prove him the more prolific. But it is diflBcult surely to dis- 
tinguish their unsigned pieces. 

Certainly no specimen could be finer than this rich print of a girlish 
figure at play. The sumptuous drapery is more orderly though not 
less free than Kiyonobu's, as complicated though less extraordinary 
than Kaigetsudo's. And there here appears for the first time a sjti- 
thesis of angular line with the sweeping curves, which seems to 
exhaust the possibilities of line-feeling, and to offer spaces for the rect- 
angular massing of the blacks, which endow them with almost an un- 
heard-of splendor. Not content with this, the white squares are again 
diversified with small figures of poets and their writings, while in the 
crest upon the sleeve the ruling composition of straight line with 
curved, and of black and white contrast is accentuated. It is such 
unique wealth of creative idea in terms of simple orchestration which 
makes these works a prize to the Occidental student, as valuable as the 
organ harmonies of Bach are to the musical students of all time. 

25. Masanobu About 1706. 

Large ink print. 
The flute lesson. 
In this fine piece one realizes that Masonobu's forte, so to speak, does 
not lie in strength so much as in delicacy. The river of sinuous curves 
ripples as placidly away as the rhythms of the sweet flute notes over 
these lovers' gentle souls. The hint of design on the sliding doors in 
the distance carries off the feeling to infinity, as one watches a long 
line of flying birds. 


26. KiYOMASU. . About 1710. 

I^arge ink print. 

Figures of two actors. 
Here the power of early Torii work in action rises to its height. Ki- 
yomasu's delight in angles seems to photograph itself upon the clear 
paper by the zig-zag of its own lightning strokes. The tall head- 
dress of the central figure cuts the sky like a blade, repeated in 
miniature by the black points of the picket. The grand outline curves 
of the pine tree, in their very power soft as a feather, throw forward 
by their contrast the startling group. The intensity of the blacks 
and their purity of imprint reveal to us that wealth, as of burnished 
silver planes, which in perfect values the Japanese call notan. 

27. Masanobu About 1712. 

Ink print. 

Even in his fine strokes one feels here that Masanobu is growing in 
power. He seems to have borrowed something from Kiyomasu. The 
girl with the hand-drum is exceedingly beautiful, and the thickening 
of the nearer lines of the male figure achieves relief by throwing back 
the fainter. 

28. Kiyomasu About 1712. 

Print colored by hand. 

Actor with a mask. 

This is a typical example of the work called Tanye. It must have 
soon appeared that the actor prints were more attractive when colored, 
and by this date it is probable that the complete edition was so 
treated. Red lead was used in broad masses for the chief pigment, 
hence the name. This use was probably suggested by the slight 
touches of orange upon the ancient Otsuye and some of Moronobu's 
prints. The Tanye prevailed chiefly between 17 10 and 1715, and 
was soon supplanted by more careful and harmonious schemes of 

29. KiYONOBU About 1715. 

Hand-colored print. 

Girl with a puppet. 

Kiyonobu, on rejecting the Tanye, determined to produce as beautiful 
a quality of hand-coloring as possible. It was a new forte, this of 
making many fine pictures without the trouble of redrawing. For 
this the lines were more carefully thought out and more delicately 
drawn. As yet there was no use of lacquer as a black pigment. Usu- 
ally in these earliest color prints there was no background. 

This is a most beautiful example of the new style. The lines are 
well cut and sharply impressed upon a fine paper. For ta^i Kiyo- 
nobu substituted beni, a. fugitive vegetable red. With it, and dull 
purple and blues, he combined in a most original way a rich yellow. 


30. KiYONOBU About 1715. 

Hand-colored print. 

Young man with a bucket of flowers. 

This piece is as strongly drawn and even more richly colored than the 
last. The applied pigments have been enriched by an over-sprinkling 
of powdered gold in parts. Seldom in later prints was the hand-col- 
oring as carefully rendered. 

31. ToRii KiYOTADA About 1720. 

Hand-colored print. 

Young girl with book. 

Of all the pupils of Kiyonobu at this day Kiyotada is the best known 
and the most brilliant. It is not certain what his relationship to the 
master was ; but it is certain that he either died or ceased to produce 
long before the master. This exhibits well the continuation of Kiyo- 
nobu' s experiments in hand-coloring. There is still no background. 
Yellow and beni are the more brilliant pigments ; but there is now first 
introduced the use of black lacquer upon the sash. This use, which 
was continued upon the actor prints of the Torii school for the most 
part during the next twenty years, has given to this work the name 
Urushiye or lacquer painting. Another characteristic of the period is 
the squareness of the head, about which the hair is closely plastered, 
projecting only into a long flattened tail behind. Kiyotada's work is 
quite rare. 

32. Kiyonobu About 1722. 

Hand-colored print. 

Two female figtures. 

This is a most brilliant and finely preserved sample of the earlier 
Urushiye. It preserves the characteristics of the piece last mentioned, 
but enriches the color with a fine pale green. The colors are disposed 
in unusually broad masses, and it is noticeable that the lines of drapery 
on the black lacquered dress are made visible by deeply impressing 
them into the surface, which seems to stand out in relief. Here, too, 
the patterns are unusually simple and broad, and the composition of 
the graceful figures is unusually close. 

33. Kiyonobu About 1725. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

A theatrical dispute. 

Heretofore we have studied Kiyonobu only as a designer for prints ; 
here we see the subtle quality of his drawing and the wonderful rich- 
ness of his full color- work. Our understanding of these strange prints 
of the actor school is greatly aided by a study of this work. "We 
grasp the creative idea in the faded reds, the warm browns, and the 
glossy blacks. It is color quite unlike anything seen before in 
Japan. It is a keynote of the Torii movement. 


This very painting has also an interesting history. Representing 
the first or the second Danjuro in one of his strongest scenes, it has 
remained from Kiyonobu's day as the greatest treasure in the house of 
his successors, from the last of whom it was directly purchased two 
years ago. 

34. ZiYOMASu About 1725. 

Hand-colored print. 

Actor, male figure. 

Here is a magnificent early example of the complete Urushiye, which 
fairly holds its own beside the painting last described. The black is 
still used in broad masses, but the background is now filled in with 
rude stage details of architecture and garden. Upon the panels of the 
sliding door yellows and browns have been sprinkled ad libihim in a 
manner most unnatural, yet contributing to the warmth of the total 

35. KiYONOBU About 1730. 

Painting on a large screen of two panels. 

Groups of actors, large size. 
During the run of each piece at the new theatre it became the custom 
to hang on the facade large paintings of the chief incidents of the play, 
as we hang theatrical posters in conspicuous places. After the close 
of the season they became for the most part lost or destroyed. The 
execution of these posters, or Kamban, falling originally to the lot of 
Kiyonobu, a monopoly of the business has remained ever since in the 
Torii family. These painted posters of the last century have now 
become extremely rare, and are far finer than those of recent days. 
They exhibit to us in large scale, and with the fiill force of the pen 
strokes, the very groupings which were reduced for the handbills and 
the single sheet prints. 

It is quite clear that these two panels, though afterwards mounted 
on a screen, were two out of a single series of these Kamban. More- 
over, they are the most splendid and finished in drawing and coloring 
of any I have seen, with the exception of one by Kiyonaga, now at 
Boston. The lavish use of gold is a striking feature. It is noticeable 
that prints of large size seem to belong to the early years of the cen- 
tury. As the actor print monopolized attention, a small size seems to 
have been fixed for it. In such paintings as this alone can we trace 
Kiyonobu's larger style in middle life which would correspond to the 
ink prints of ladies in his earlier. This gives us one of the richest 
passages of tone in the whole Torii school. 

36. Masanobu About 1730. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Richly dressed girl and attendant. 

This painting is specially interesting in three respects: First, it 
enables us to see what Masanobu' s larger style had become in the 


intei\'al ; second, it is almost on such paintings alone that we can 
rely for a study of Masanobu's work at all in his middle period ; 
third, it enables us to compare directly paintings by Masanobu and 
Kiyonobu of the same date. Masanobu's work in prints tends to 
concentrate at the middle and at the end of his career. He seems to 
have disdained serious competition with Kiyonobu and Kiyomasu 
in developing the actor print. Apparently he recognized that the 
delicacy of his style was better suited to the delineation of women ; 
and, since after 17 15 the demand for prints of such subjects seems 
for a time to have been eclipsed by demands for theatrical scenes, 
Masanobu devoted himself almost exclusively to painting, as a rival 
of Choshun. Many paintings of this middle period are met with, 
through which, and the print designs of his pupils, the changes in 
his style have chiefly to be traced. 

In this picture a comparison of the patterns with the spottings on 
the Kiyonobu screen, and of the angular design on the black dress 
with that on the red in the Kiyonobu kakemono, shows strikingly 
the fashion of the day. The tail of the hair arrangement behind the 
head is being drawn out into a longish point. 

37. Okumura Toshinobu. About 1730. 

Hand-colored print. 

A young girl. 
Of all Masanobu's pupils bearing his family name, Toshinobu is the 
best known and the most able. His hand-colored prints are much 
more frequently met with than his master's. They have much 
feminine grace and charm, and are usually striking in color. It is 
not known whether he was Masanobu's son ; but his work ceases 
before the latter's. Here we have a fine sample of an experiment 
which seems to have been inaugurated by him, to eschew reds, and 
confine his coloring to yellows and olives. 

38. NiSHiMURA Shigenobu About 1732. 

Hand-colored print. 

Actor dressed as a gardener with flowers. 

Here first appears another famous family name in Ukioye annals, 
Nishimura. Its work seems to combine the qualities of the Torii and 
the Okumura. At first in subject it follows the Torii in concerning 
itself with actors. Later it falls very much under the influence of 
Masanobu, and devotes itself to women. It is most convenient to 
reckon it a branch of Masanobu's sub-school, which more and more 
detaches itself from that of the Torii. 

Shigenobu is probably the patriarch of the family. His work is 
comprised between 1720 and 1740. In painting he is coarse and 
uncouth ; but as a designer for prints he has great merit. He delights 
in representations of flowers and leaves. His importance in history 
rests partly upon his influence over his more famous son, Shigenaga. 


39- NiSHiMURA Mangosaburo About 1732. 

Hand-colored print. 

Actors in male and female parts. 
This print exhibits the early Nishimura style at its strongest. Man- 
gosaburo's relation to Shigenobu is doubtful ; but we may, perhaps, 
conclude from the fact that his work covers about the same period, 
and from his retention of the unprofessional name, that he may have 
been a younger brother. That he was the greater artist is clear. His 
name is not mentioned in the books ; but it may fairly be said of him 
that he was the strongest print designer then living, with the excep- 
tion of the two Torii. This is a splendid sample of his work ; strong 
and sweet in drawing, solid in composition, full of beautiful detail, 
and rich though quiet in color. 

40. Nishimura Shigenaga About 1735. 

Hand-colored print. 

Young man and girl in a garden. 
This is one of the earliest works of a young man who was destined to 
play during the next thirty years a striking part in the history of 
Ukioye. Inheriting from his father in painting a rough waywardness 
in manner, the bent of his own genius evidently drew him to the sub- 
jects and proportions of Masanobu, of whom he became a close pupil. 
He is one of those interesting men, known to all schools of art, whose 
oddity would be denounced as clumsiness in other hands, but through 
some indescribable soul-endowment becomes endeared to connoisseurs 
for its earnest idiosyncrasy. We shall watch his rise to supreme mas- 
tership at a later epoch. 

But in this careful work already a charm is evident, borrowed in 
part from the paintings of Masanobu, but new to the colored prints. 
It is not only that we have every-day subjects returning, in place of 
actors ; not merely from the innovating delightfnlness of the landscape 
hints. It lies not alone in the funny little innocent faces, nor in the 
ease of drawing and the unconventional posture and composition. It 
is the first appearance in Ukioye of that sweet, slender feeling of youth, 
that delicate suggestion of sentiment, which rise to perfection thirty 
years later in the designs of his great pupil, Horunobu. It strikes a 
new note ; the element of personality is in it. 

41. Masanobu About 1735. 

Small painting on a kakemono. 

Young man and girl in a garden. 

Here we see the pictorial source from which Shigenaga drew something 
of his inspiration. It is the same scene. It is the beginning of 
painted landscape in a purely Ukioye style, differentiated from that of 
Moronobu and Choshun. It demonstrates the growing power of Ma- 
sanobu, even in its excessive delicacy. He has cast himself free from 


early reminiscences, as from the coarsening influence of the Torii, and 
has determined to devote himself to purity and sweetness of feeUng in 
dealing with Japanese subjects. The outline strokes here, though fine, 
are pulsating with vitality and modulation. These are perhaps the 
most classically perfect figures which occur until we arrive at the 
genius of Kiyonaga. After long waiting Masanobu is learning how to 
distance his early rival, Kiyonobu. This is the most beautiful of his 
minute paintings. 

42. KiYOMASU About 1735. 

Hand-colored print. 

Actors in male and female parts. 

We have here a strong example of the Torii analogue of this date. 
The pale reds have faded ; but the coloring was always refined and 
quiet. It shows no falling oJBFin this artist's powers. There is still a 
splendid energy in the outlining. It is noticeable that the tail of the 
hair, carried out to a still sharper point, is about to be bent slightly 
upward at the tip. 

43. TosHiNOBU About 1735. 

Hand-colored print. 

Girl with a puppet. 

Here we have the Okumura analogue in print designing of the actor 
type. The head is larger and more round. There is an attempt to 
render the slight hint of a puffing of the hair high over the ears ; the 
first ripple of a new movement destined to achieve the most exagger- 
ated results. In short, the evolution of the fashionable female coififiire, 
for thirty years confined to modifications of the size and shape of the 
tail piece, is now about to try what it can do with the long neglected 
wings. It is noticeable here also that the use of a lacquered black is 
dropped. From now on this tends to be the case, although there are 
many exceptions. Another innovation seems to be that Toshinobu's 
beni red has been mixed with orange, and that blue is a prominent 

Mangosabtjro About 1736. 

Hand-colored print. 

Actor with wigs, dancing. 
This print does not belie the reputation I have given Mangosaburo. It 
is as powerful in line as a Kiyomasu ; its color is as sweet and clear as 
an Okumura. It is so perfectly preserved that it shows almost the 
original tints. 

KrsroMASu About 1737. 

Hand-colored print. 

Actor, male figure. 
This print is the fine Torii analogue of the last. The drapery is 
sumptuous in its sweep of long diverging curves. The lacquer is 




abolished, and the colors have little differentiation in dark and light. 
The setting of the architectural background and the disposition of the 
lettering are strong. 

46. ZiYONOBTJ About 1738. 

Hand-colored print. 

Actor with fan and box. 

This, though less splendid in line, is equally clear and fresh in the 
color. The old style of sprinkling with metal dust, probably a cheaper 
sort, which has turned to a coppery green, gives character to many of 
the prints of this day. The bands in the dress pattern, and the large, 
square crest are notable. Here in his actor prints Kiyonobu has 
taken Masanobu's hint by introducing some charming quaint land- 
scape suggestions. 

47. KiYOMASU About 1738, 

Hand-colored print. 

Actors, in tragic scene. 

This sample, perfectly preserved, is typical of the warmer scale of col- 
oring in the actor prints, into which black lacquer has been thrown 
again as a bass-note. The reds, yellows, browns and blues are 
exactly normal. 

48. Masanobu About 1738. 

Hand-colored print. 

Street scene, a festival. 

After thirty years of waiting, Masanobu now completely throws off the 
tyranny which has tended to narrow print-designing to stage subjects ; 
and, not only asserts himself as leader in the delineation of women, 
but, as in this instance, returns to subjects of crowded out-door life, 
such as he had once borrowed from Moronobu at the commencement 
of his career. It is strange that there should hardly have been a print 
of such subjects executed by anyone during the interval. Even in 
paintings they mostly disappeared after Choshun. But now toward 
the middle of the century, when the novelty of the theatre had passed, 
and the style of the Torii was developing no new features, interest 
again arose in the fulness of Yedo life ; and there was plainly an open- 
ing for Masanobu to cease sulking in his tent, and to reassert his 
power. It is noticeable, too, that during the interval there were 
almost no prints of large size, only the small narrow page for the 
albums of collectors. But now the new subjects would demand larger 
scope ; and thus between 1740 and 1750 suddenly spring into view 
splendid ample sheets swarming with figures, or filled, as in the 
early days of the century, with grand and dignified portraiture. It 
is strange that the work of a genius like Masanobu should thus con- 
centrate itself about the extreme poles of age, as the burdens of a 


Japanese porter weight down the ends of his shoulder rod. But the 
future of Ukioye was really bound up in this movement, and in the 
capacities of Masanobu's genius after he had reached something like 
the ripe age of seventy. It is now, and with him, too, that commences 
the beautiful series of small illustrated books, of which Harunobu's, 
Shigemasa's, and Kiyonaga's later become the highest types. 

Here we have vigorous and picturesque setting, though somewhat 
clumsy drawing like Shigenaga's. We shall see Masanobu in a few 
years more shake himself free from this. The color tone is already 
dark and splendid. 

49. KiYOTADA About 1739. 

Large hand-colored print. 

A crowded street scene in Yedo. 
The new movement was evidently not to be confined to Okumura 
Masanobu. In painting, Tsunemasa soon enters it, and in prints we 
have here the exceptional effort of a scion of the Torii house. It is of 
almost unique interest for its unstudied quaintness. Of many types 
and occupations, the groups seem quite to move about before one in 
their natural confusion. It was hard for this old actor draughtsman 
to render with full grace the hair arrangement. Already there is sign 
of a divergence between the traditional Torii drawing of coiffures, and 
of the more flexible pen of Okumura. The former tend to conserva- 
tism, to repeating the types of Kioho and Gumbun (1730 to 1740) ; 
while the latter vary with every delicate nuance in fashionable propor- 



KrvoMASTJ About 1740. 

Hand-colored print. 

Actor with lunbrella in female part. 

This repeats the perfect preservation and coloring of No. 47. It is 
noticeable now that the tail-piece of the hair is growing shorter and 
blunter, and intentionally bent up at the tip. 

KiYONOBTJ About 1741. 

Hand-colored print. 

Actor, male figure, with sword and fan, 

Lent by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 
This is a superb specimen of the very last stage of the Torii hand- 
colored actor prints. Yedo art, Ukioye, is on the verge of a revolu- 
tion, but does not know it. These large angular strokes of the brush, 
these rapidly blended passages of strange spotty color are to be seen 
for the last time. Though growing old, it is evident that Kiyonobu 
has not lost his power of design. The hair arrangement already 
shows that two-fold change in decided progression, the tail flattened 
and bent upward, the side pieces over the ears fuller ; and still a third 




change, the forehead knot detaching and coming into slight promi- 
nence again after an abolition of forty years. 

Masanobxj About 1741. 

Hand-colored print. 

Female figure with paper. 
This is an interesting and most exceptional piece by Okumura on the 
eve of the great change. It is in the style and size of the Torii actor 
prints ; it borrows their last and richest scale of rose and yellow color- 
ing, even to the use of the almost discarded black lacquer. But in the 
grace of hue, and the distinguished arrangement of the odd masses, 
we now have something which challenges comparison in aesthetic feel- 
ing with the strongest work of his contemporaries. He is beginning 
to realize himself a great creator of design. We see here in 
beautiful detail what is meant by the small shell-like curve over the 
ear, the detachment of the top-knot, and the fine upward sweep of the 
long low tail. 

Masanobu About 1742. 

Very large hand-colored print. 

Interior of a pleasure-house upon the river, with a party of 
young people. 
Here we begin to see Masanobu' s power of fine head drawing, and of 
beautiful grouping, such as appears in the finest of his illustrated 
books. The scene is utterly characteristic of Yedo hfe. The broad 
river which flows through the city is bordered for miles with such halls, 
opening also at the sides wherever a canal, like a cross-street, inter- 
sects. There is a refined sweetness about the group playing at the 
game which is new in Japanese art. The hair is flattening out behind 
still more in the form of a beaver's tail, whose construction we can the 
better examine in the profile figures. The fore-knot is rising into 
decided prominence. There is some suggestion of approach to the 
helmet shape of the total effect characteristic of Moronobu in 1690. 
Though a rapidly passing phase of fashion, it is surely one of the most 
beautiful forms of coiflfure ever devised in Japanese history. Oku- 
mura' s artistic use of it is the triumph of his art, rivalling as it does 
Hokusai's most careful head drawing of a century later. 

54. Masanobu Probably 1743. 

Print in two colors. 

Young man with a lantern. 

At last we have arrived at the turning point in the art of printing. It 
comes unheralded, but naturally, as do all great changes. What is 
involved in them cannot be seen till later. It is the change firom 
hand-coloring, to the application of color by impression firom flat 
wooden blocks. Why this change was so long deferred, we do not 
surely know. It seems almost certain that samples of Chinese block 


color printing must have been already imported. European critics 
have, without exception, made a great mistake in ascribing this 
change to the close of the seventeenth century. Block colored work 
by Kiyonobu is everywhere recently labelled of that date in exhibi- 
tions and collections. It is an error apparently borrowed from the 
uncritical conjectures of some English and French authorities. It 
was a most exciting chase of years, during my residence in Japan, to 
hunt down, narrowly encircle, and finally to capture this most impor- 
tant date. The difficulty was to dispose of the enormous mass of 
varied hand color-work, on the hypothesis of an early date. Little 
by little the approximation was driven forward into the heart of 
the eighteenth century. One clew was evidently the smaller patterns 
in dresses, frequently checks and plaids ; another was the rapid 
growth of the helmet-shaped hair-dressing. Illustrated books were 
sought and bought for dates ; but the fly-leaves had been mostly 
torn away from this ephemeral literature. At last that rare thing, 
a dated print appeared ; and then a collection of yearly advertise- 
ments of the actors' guilds, all dated, in which block coloring in 
the primitive rose and green suddenly found its place. It was 
soon evident, too, that the two methods of coloring overlapped by 
a few years, as was natural. The new method, at first experimen- 
tal, must have been quickly commended by its cheapness ; but could 
not at once drive out the more personal, as used on the larger and 
more expensive issues, the iditions de luxe, so to speak. Thus a 
limiting date was found on the later side, and the indications of the 
last cheap hand-colored prints determined it closely on the other. 
It is possible that the earliest experiment was made in 1742 ; but 
it has not been proved to be earlier than 1743. "Who conceived and 
started the experiment is not certain. Whoever it was, all the lead- 
ing print designers, Masanobu, Eliyonobu, Kiyomasu, and Shigenaga, 
jumped at its use immediately, and made it their own ; but it was 
Okumura Masanobu who from the first treated it with the most 
exquisite aud imaginative genius. 

The technical possibilities latent in the new process were great. 
Heretofore line had been sacrificed to license in color-spotting. 
Now the limitation to two colors demanded the finest skill and crea- 
tive resource in the relative distribution of each. It was a decorative 
problem in simple terms, analogous to that of the painting on Greek 
vases; but which has never been worked out into as complex and 
splendid pictorial solutions by any European race. Hence its unique 
educational value for art students to-day, whose power over the be- 
wildering combinations of possible colors and masses can be normally 
guided only by thorough discipline in arrangement of the simplest 
flat values. The choice of pale rose and green as the colors was the 
most happy that could have been made. In the earliest specimens 


of all the artists both colors are largely diluted by white, that is, 
applied in relatively small pattern over the untinted ground. But 
Masanobu alone of all knew also how to darken his colors by admix- 
tures of black, which he superbly disposed throughout his design as 
an organic color. In the earliest specimens, too, some of the most 
deHcious effects were got by embossing ; and a choice of the red or 
green for a portion of the lettering gave tone to the effect. Doubtless 
the splendid results were aided by the new fashion for smallness of 
pattern; repeating leaf-forms, or vine traceries, and fret-work of 
diaper, plaid, or check. Thus the meagre resources of the tints could 
be enriched by the relative massing and interpenetration of these 
small units of area. 

In the superb specimens by Masanobu, probably attributable to the 
first year of the new method, we see all these resources handled with 
incredible mastery. It was the discovery of a new world of beauty 
by a man almost on the verge of the grave. There is the lustiness 
and vitality of a youngster in it. The tones and textures are in- 
describably delicious. The true design of the drapery stands out with 
a combined strength and grace, a freedom of flow, and a beauty of 
proportion which render Okumura's figures in his last years 
" classic," so to speak, in the history of Ukioye. 

55. Masanobu Probably 1743. 

Print in two colors. 

Lady embracing a young boy. 

I<ent by Samuel Colman of New York. 
This, which appears to be one of a triptych with the preceding, is 
almost equally beautiful and rich. The half-pleased, half-reluctant 
yielding of the innocent boy is naively rendered in the clasped hands. 

56. Masanobu About 1744. 

I/arge hand-colored print. 

Young gentleman on horseback. 
This work, though darkened by time, is rich, powerful, and charming 
in design ; and of special interest as showing the master's retention of 
personal color-handling in a large and expensive print. Here the 
strong design of the horse in red and black is quite Greek, and a fine 
use of plaid in the outer garment is again introduced. In the delicate 
pattern of the trowsers we see the sort of motive which Okumura had 
for utilization in printing his soft rose traceries. The heads of the 
ladies at the window bring out the sentiment of the composition. 

57. Shigenaga Dated 1743. 

Print in two colors. 

Young man arriving in the rain. 
The sweetness of this work is almost worthy of Okumura himself: 
though in composition it is not so strong. It stamps Shigenaga an 


independent master of the possibilities of tlie new manner from the 
outset. Here the dilution of the exquisite tints by white is clever, 
and the introduction into the pattern of the black numerals, striking. 
Here, again, there is that indescribable flavor of personality in the 
figures which even Okumura's more perfect beauties possibly lack. 
Shigenaga differs from Masanobu in choosing the green for some of 
his lettering. His prints in two colors of any date are exceedingly 
rare, and this is almost a unique piece in that it is dated, and that 
date is the earliest which occurs on such work. Is it not suggested 
as a surmise that, as Harunobu still later celebrated the date of an 
equally important innovation by putting it on the new prints of his 
first year, so this rare fact of a date may indicate the moment and the 
pride of Shigenaga in his own discovery ? 

58. Masanobu About 1744. 

Print in two colors. 

Young girl sitting pensive on her bed. 

I/cnt by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
The combined beauty and sentiment of this clear print is indescriba- 
ble. There is an abandon of line, a tossing back of the great- 
sleeved coverlet, running parallel with the heart's emotion. She 
dreams of some one absent. The strange spots of the straight bounded 
blacks on the parti-colored night-robe, such as only Okumura can de- 
sign, add to the nigligi effect, while from the careless folds escape a 
sweetly drawn thin and girlish leg. The rendering of the ink painted 
screen in the background, a work of Kano Tanyu probably, lends 
strength and variety to the composition. 

59. Masanobu About 1744. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

A Falconer. 

Lent by George W. Vanderbilt of New York. 
It is of special interest to compare this pure painting from Masanobu' s 
own hand with his other splendid work in these last years. It shows 
how little was contributed to his grandeur, his classic purity, his 
matchless wealth of invention by the co-operation of younger pupils, or 
by the accidents of printing. He stands out a supreme master ; and 
when one studies his collected work, as this exhibition enables any one 
to do probably for the first time in history, it seems almost to reach the 
highest point of Ukioye art. The great Paris collectors have disputed 
for years whether Hokusai, Utamaro, or Kiyonaga ought to be awarded 
the palm ; a few have been overcome by the feminine charm of the 
semi-primitive Harunobu. But no one has yet done justice to the in- 
comparable grandeur and dignity of Okumura Masanobu. It is the 
highest compliment to pay to this wonderfully colored work to say that 
it exhibits Masanobu' s qualities of painting at their highest. 


6o. Masanobu About 1744. 

Tall hand-colored print. 

A Falconer. 
Nothing could be more interesting than to compare this noble print 
of the same subject with the painting that precedes. What dignity, 
what pose ! What wealth of diamond check in the robe's border, 
what simplicity of black striping in the skirt ! Note the sensitive 
drawing of the gloved hand, the careful harmony in the perfect lines 
of the hair. This is doubtless one of the most beautiful heads Oku- 
mura ever designed. Its grand oval receives an indescribable 
dignity from the exaggerated length of the nose, a liberty analogous to 
that which the great creators of the world have always dared to 
take. This is the most perfect sample of the helmet-shaped coiffure of 
the period Kuanen. The tail is now raised up from the neck in self- 
sustaining rigidity ; the swell over the ears has the vital curve of a 
breaking wave. What could be more exquisite than the plumage of 
the hawk? 

61. KiYONOBU About 1746. 

Print in two colors, uncut triptych. 
Standing figures with umbrellas. 

But, by whomever discovered, this potent innovation did not leave 
the Torii cold. For his cheap actor prints Kiyonobu would be the 
first to see its commercial value. From its first year this veteran 
plunges into the new race for fame with the ardor of a schoolboy. 
And no less than Masanobu does he demonstrate capacity for creation . 
in the new terms. From the rude forms of thirty years' standing, 
with their riotous hand-tinting, he passes with absolute ease to the 
nicety of line and the purity of soft coloring demanded by the new 
conditions of design. And yet he is no mere translator of Masano- 
bu's thoughts. As from youth, his individuahty asserts itself It is not 
only a new actor ideal that asserts itself; but a new aesthetic ideal of 
the pink and green harmonies. From the first Kiyonobu seizes upon 
the clew of the small patterns coming into vogue. It is not the wealth 
of Masanobu's strange massing of resources that he emulates ; but it 
is the dignity involved in the simple repetition of minute designs over 
large spaces at which he aims. 

There could not be a riper exemplification of his new ideal than 
this excessively rare specimen. We shall have to look in vain 
through Kiyonobu' s former work for anything so sweet and restrained 
in drawing. How he has enhanced the dignity by wrapping these 
stately male figures in the plain outer Chinese-derived double- 
breasted robe which falls to the heels ! How the unbroken vertical 
pose is accentuated by the handle, and capped by the dome of the 


umbrella ! How subtle the suggestion of feeling in slightly posed 
heads ! Yet all this is but a background for a new rhythm of dark 
and light, a new melody of color ; — stern checks of blue, black, and 
rose on the central figures, flower spottings like a shower of mingled 
petals and snow-flakes on the other. And what vitality and charm 
and support in the pale line-suggestions of the background trees ! 
There is so much that is fine, we hardly stop to notice the splendid 
crests. The rose of the coloring has faded ; " old rose " it is indeed 
now. It could hardly have looked finer with its wonderful fellow-tint 
of diaphanous blue. 

But the last rarety of this otherwise perfect work is its almost 
unheard of state as an uncut triptych. We should not have known 
from the previous actor prints alone, nor from most of those which 
remain in the red and green, that they were generally cut three on 
one block, and triply signed for the possibility of separate use. Even 
in the case of the hand-colored prints this fact is proved by the blocks 
which remain. It is only from collections made at the date of issue 
that the uncut triptych occasionally turns up. This choice of blue 
instead of green by Kiyonobu is almost unique, previous to the experi- 
ments of Kiyomitsu. It is noticeable that in his actor types Kiyonobu 
does not closely follow changes of fashion in hair-dressing. This at 
first was one of the greatest obstacles to the determination of dates. 

62. Akiyama Sadahartt About 1746. 

Print in solid black. 

Young girl under a maple tree. 

Of this dehcious and unexpected work what shall be said ? Unex- 
pected it is because we have never heard of the artist before ; delicious 
because it combines all the personal charm of Shigenaga with the 
beauty of Masanobu. We do not hesitate to rank him at once as a 
pupil of Shigenaga, who, if he had continued to work, would have 
become more than a rival to Harunobu. The feeling of head and 
drapery is markedly like Shigenaga ; and the latter is known to have 
tried about this time experiments like this in solid black designing. 
But this is a triumph, wonderful beyond expression ; — the sweet pose 
like the droop of a lily, the swinging sleeves and skirt like the veined 
petals of some new night-blooming orchid. The exquisite maple foli- 
age is a realization of Aladdin's silver trees; while the poetical let- 
tering, not unworthy of comparison with twelfth century caligraphy, 
pours over her dainty head like a shower of liquid diamonds. May 
we not conjecture that, in this refinement of feeling, a classic taste far 
transcending the resources of Ukioyeshi, we see the work of some 
eccentric nobleman, whose position shielded him in his heretical effort 
to purify the style of his plebeian teacher ? 


63. Sadaharu About 1746. 

Print in solid black. 

Boy gazing at a blossoming plum. 
This piece, doubtless one of a triptych with, the preceding, differs from 
it only in the qualities of masculinity. The drawing of the plum-tree 
betokens familiarity with Kano models. The writing is a cascade of 
molten silver upon some planet where specific gravity is feather light. 
To isolate the lines of drapery they are encased in thin belts of white, 
which seem to bathe the figure in a sort of luminous aura, like the 
sub-aqueous gleams which play about Toko's swimming fish. The 
careless patterns and the folds of the tunbrella are fine niello work. 
There is no boy's face in the whole range of the art more innocent and 

64. ISHIEAWA ToT?ONOBU AboUt 1 746. 

Print in two colors, uncut triptych. 

Young girls in out-door recreation. 
Here makes his first bow to us a young man destined to be a leader 
of the next generation, whose very name, Toyo, is prophetic to the 
student of Ukioye, and who from the first accepts gracefull}'- his heri- 
tage as Masanobu's accepted and most adequate successor. At first 
sight he seems to carve out his figures from solid emerald. But a 
second view reveals to us that they are gauzy, diaphanous textures of 
out-door summer robes ; through which as they fall across the lining 
of the collar and the coquettish petticoat shows the undertint of the 
latter' s red. This efiect is got in the printing by superposition, which 
thus composes a third or olive tint, a resource which, perhaps at first 
suggested by this representative problem, was sometimes utilized as 
an independent enrichment of the design. These early willowy girls 
of Toyonobu are among the most graceful of all his creation. We see 
the tail of the hair being pressed upward still more from the neck. 
Here again we have that rarety in a collection, a perfectly preserved 
specimen of an uncut triptych. 

65. KiYOMASu About 1747. 

Print in two colors. 

Actors ; woman on plum-tree, and boy with a wrestler's fan. 

What is more beautiful, even, than the design of this print, is the fine- 
ness of its printing ;— the delicacy of the traced patterns, the revelation 
of texture in their embossing. What a demonstration of the superiority 
of the almost superhumanly sensitive and sympathetic touch of a 
smooth block to the coarse drowning of the paper's fibre-tentacles with 
the soak of a soggy brush ! Instead of green the artist chose for us a 
fine citrine, about which the faded pinks cling like the perfume of a 
pressed flower. 


66. Masanobu About 1747. 

Print in two colors ; uncut triptych. 
Groups of girls. 
We have seen Masanobu sweeping to power on the rising wave of 
natural human subject, and a new opportunity of design. We have 
seen Kiyonobu close behind him with his unexampled breadth of 
repeating pattern. We have seen how, in contradistinction, the former 
tends to mass his colors, his greens and his reds, his blacks and his 
whites, in strangely formed and well segregated passages. But never 
before has any one seen such a superbly rich, such a gracefully con- 
ceived, such an originally combined utilization of all the elements as 
in this matchless print. Each composition is of a large standing and 
a small crouching figure, thus weaving together two complete melodies 
of line theme. Each is as classically perfect as the drawing on a 
Greek vase. A single architectural composition for the first time 
unites the three groups, should the collector prefer them uncut ; the 
central one dominating by the presence of the tubs ; the one at the 
right crowned by the wall-decorations of the peonies. Secondly, we 
have in the groups, severally and as a whole, a consciously clear notan, 
or dark and light arrangement of the main spaces. This quality, 
which is mostly absent in Kiyonobu' s and Toyonobu's work, is here, in 
the midst of the most etherially deUcate toning, where we should least 
expect it, introduced with the finest modulations of volume, like the 
rise and fall of antiphonal rhapsodies between a clarinet and a French 
horn. This is managed, not only by the interjection of veins of 
black wealth, but by the clear enamels of transparent emerald. Here, 
again, the dominant black upon the central Sgure unifies, as notan, 
the total of the grouping. lyastly, in color orchestration we are 
simply amazed at Masanobu's resources in "working out." He plays 
football with his themes, tossing them about from instrument to in- 
strument, interweaving, inverting, accelerating, modulating, as does 
Brahms, the modem tone-magician. Green or red, it matters not, he 
dilutes them with a flooding of white light, he borders them with 
bands of black, star-lit like evening ;— he interlocks them in checks, 
he showers them in blooms of the weeping cherry, spurts them and 
chums them into the crests of combing waves, throws them at one 
another in shells as children romp joyously on a beach. The check- 
figures sway plastically with the surface- curves ; little vines clamber 
up, as on trellises, the lines of the folds. Finally, in a daring passage 
on the central figure, for one brief moment he blares out the red and 
green boldly in flat superposition, as Beethoven occasionally scales 
heaven with the lightning of a discord. Where else in the world 
shall we look for such finesse, for such fine prancing over the lists of 
pictorial problems. Even the facades of Greek temples were possibly 
cold and half-charged in comparison. Is it not the utmost wonder of 


its revelation that it enables us to say of it, that it carries the principle 
of classic design away over the border line where the Greeks with 
their architectural limitations dropped it ? 

67. Masanobu About 1747. 

Very large hand-colored print. 

Young man with a letter. 

Here is a grand specimen of the same master's work on another key. 
Refined in low-toned color, its structure is mainly in line and dark and 
light. The plaid of the outer garment is opposed to the vine of the 
inner, in form as in value ; and there is a startling accentuation with the 
strong crest on the curtain near the head. It is noticeable in this and 
in the preceding number that the tail in the hair-dressing is not only 
bent up very much at the back, but is lifted as a whole very high 
above the neck, firom which it is reached by a fine rising sweep of the 
carefully combed hair. This is the special temporary form that 
dominates the brief period Enkio. 

68. ToYONOBU About 1747. 

Tall hand-colored print. 

Figure with an umbrella. 

This shows well with what refinement, with what restraint without 
weakness, Toyonobu seconded his master's initiative. The vine 
pattern is especially beautiful. 

69. KlYOMASTT About 1 746. 

Print in two colors. 

Figure in straw hat with musical instrument. 

The red and green of each successive year is replete with new charm. 
The many degrees of the fading help the great diversity of effect we 
notice ; but there was much striving for nice variation of color from the 
outset. Here the rose color predominates ; and being applied more 
solidly than in previous specimens, it preserves a little better its origi- 
nal tone. The dominance of the design by the actor's crest above, in 
the midst of the voluminous lettering, is new ; as is also the use of 
the sweet rosette of the tea-blossom for a pattern. 

70. Toyonobu About 1748. 

I<arge hand-colored print. 

Young girl with a written tablet. 

Lent by Clarence Buckingham of Chicago. 
This impression is as clear as if printed to-day from a freshly cut block. 
It exhibits Toyonobu at his finest grace of style, at a point where he 
comes closest to the feeling of Masanobu. How deftly the soft dove 
colors mediate the extremes of the blacks and yellows ! 


71. Masanobu About 1749. 

Very tall hand-colored print. 

Figure of a woman closely wrapped. 

If, just before he died, Masanobu could not have given us this revela- 
tion of his utmost power, we should not know the man. We have 
been watching his gradual growth for fifty years. We have seen 
him, on the edge of the grave, if not inventing, at least creating a 
beauty in simple color-prints which transcends the world's design. It 
is fitting, that before the process of hand coloring altogether disap- 
pears, he should hold in reserve his last and grandest thought for its 
more personal expression. 

In line composition the figure is the finest proportioned, the most 
solid, the firmest in pose, the most soberly complete in designing. It 
is one of " those ultimate things." Is it really extravagant to call it 
Michelangelesque ? No dress pattern in any age has dared to cut up 
its ground with such powerful organic spacings ; sleeve and skirt 
embroidered with a flotilla of Dutch ships, some, as the folds fall, 
tumbling over backward with sail and pennon set defiantly. Notan 
only increases the magnificence ; flag and canvas daring still greater 
difficulties with blade-like stripings of black, whose restless rhythms 
are drowned only by enormous belts of black in other breadths, and 
by the dark knots of the obi belted and dotted with light. Yet what 
would all this be without the color ? The breadths of the Dutch sails 
are alternations of black with rose and yellow and purple ; yet their 
extravagant sparkle, too, is lost in the broad oceans of color over 
which they play, sage green for the Hollander's atmosphere ; roses 
and reds and golden yellows folded closely about the throat, or 
escaping from the linings when the austere blacks will let them ; the 
superb Kuanen head crowned regally with a still more superb purple 
kerchief, whose loosely tied corner carves passage through the strata 
of collar and poem to the kaleidoscopic world of the ships on the 
sleeve, and whose vertical note is repeated below in the hang of a 
blue crepe sash flowing from arm to heel, like a strait firom sea to sea. 
Who could believe that such complexity is as natural, synthetic, and 
self-resolving as an organ prelude of Bach ; all aflSnities of this 
mighty reaction saturated and absorbed ; an illustration of William 

Watson's couplet ; 

" Often omateness 

Goes with greatness." 
It is the power to handle Jove's lightning which proves sonship to the 

72. KiYONOBU About 1749. 

Print in two colors. 

Actors with bow and arrows. 

Here the soft greens are of mysterious quality, melting into the 


ground of pale amethyst, as the green of a clear wave at the point 
where it breaks blended with foam. The reds, faded almost to ash, 
sift through them like a warmth of clean sand. 

73. KiYONOBU About 1750. 

Print in two colors. 

Actors with puppet show. 

Lent by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 

This might be called "a symphony in checks." Curtain, costume, 

and panelled door contribute each its quota. It is an extreme case, 

finely handled, of Kiyonobu's special problems. 

74. KiYOMASu About 1750. 

Print in two colors. 

Boy on a bridge with boxes. 

I<ent by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
The problem here is more like that of Masanobu. The blacks and 
greens are oddly massed, the notan clear, checks alternate with curves, 
and the fine bow of the fan-shaped boxes reflects the arch of the 

75. TovoNOBu About 1750. 

I^arge print in colors. 

Street scene with interior background. 

It was but a step firom Masanobu's uniting the separate groups of a 
triptych by a common architectural background, to the conception 
of a single composition upon the same scale. Here Toyonobu has 
himself entered the fascinating world of the checks, and given us a 
striking revelation of its beauties. He has massed his blacks well, 
too, to avoid notan confusion. It is incredible that so much sparkle and 
tone can be given by two flat blocks charged with rose and green. 
What a limit to our art students, impoverished with all the resources 
of the modern palette ! This sheet is like an enlarged illumination of 
one of Toyonobu' s charming illustrated books of this date. The tail 
of the hair, having reached its greatest height, is now being depressed 
a little toward the neck. 

76. Toyonobu About 1751. 

Ivarge print in two colors. 

Two young men with straw hats. 

lycnt by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 
In these years Toyonobu is becoming very prolific, and rapidly demon- 
strating his right to assume the heirship to Okumura. This pair is 
among the most graceful and beautiful of his figure compositions. 
The figures are still tall, their garments have the Masanobu sweep, the 
rose and the green are most deliciously balanced both in cutting and in 
massing, and the notan is concentrated by the clear blacks of the 


77- Masanobu About 1751. 

Print in two colors. 

Young man playing a flute. 

This work, though less important than the two of Masanobu last de- 
scribed, is nevertheless full of distinction and of fresh innovation. How 
charmingly the boy advances, intent upon his music, to be wafted to ' 
some sweetheart behind the fence ! Here is a fine new pattern in the 
sheaves of the ripening rice. The black-lozenge check of the girdle is 
barely seen against the dark green of its ground. How charmingly 
the alert asters peep, as the sympathetic willow droops to touch ! In 
the selection of this strong solid red and green, Masanobu has done 
a new thing, inaugurating a style of color which soon everyone will 
be adopting. We may well sigh for the soft hatchings with white of 
earlier years ; yet the full problem of color-printing could not have 
been solved except upon the basis of designing in solid tones. This 
is our friend's last appearance. In this year or the next he dies, aged 
about eighty. The impulse which he had given to the art could 
not be lost. He had set the standard high. For the moment he 
seemed to leave no successor of equal genius. He stands alone like 
an island out of the broad sea of the ' ' primitives ' ' ! 

78. ToYONOBu About 1752. 

Print in two colors. 

Arranging a man's hair. 

lycnt by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 
How insensibly we pass from age to age, how little reckon for the 
moment of the life and power that are forever gone out ! Toyonobu 
keeps on designing as if nothing had happened. And indeed the 
veterans Kiyonobu and Kiyomasu are still in the field, as living Unks 
to bind the new age to the old. 

Here Toyonobu successfully attempts a new kind of line feeling ! 
Its keys are the double triangle of the crests, and the barred circular 
window crossed by a plum branch without. Narrow panes of the 
sliding door give us a new check. In the similarly proportioned 
panel on the right it is sympathetic both with crests and the rectangu- 
lar barrings. 

79. ToYONOBXJ About 1752. 

Print in two colors. 

Young man at an entrance. 

Toyonobu's genius is here at its most graceful. Nothing could more 
completely soften the checks of two sizes than the undulating lines 
of the white herons, in flight over silky plains of pink and of green 
showered with plum blossoms. The screens in the background give 
us close composition. The hair arrangement has now fallen lower, 


approximating the typical Horeitei form, whicli after this does not 
change materially for a dozen years. 

80. Shigenaga About 1752. 

Print in two colors. Uncut triptych. 

Young people and music. 

It is difficult to enumerate the wonderful qualities of this print. It is 
an uncut triptych ; it is in such absolute preservation. It is by 
Shigenaga, whose works are choice and rare among masterpieces. It is 
one of the ripest examples of red and green designing, at the apex of 
the art. It is a triumph of mosaic in small patterns, all the more 
wonderful in that it has no strong accents of black. The colors are 
massed, as the case may be, or cut up by every known resource of 
spotting, lining, veining, or checking. Solid reds come against reds 
saturated with white ; the central unifying passage is a constant play 
of green against green. Here is solution of endless primary decorative 
problems of disposition. The figures of the lovers in pairs, too, are 
exceptionally charming, the blending of the two kindred moods of 
love and music. On one dress the moon-rabbit leaps over rippUng 
waves ; on another, red and green herons look out over the sea in 
serried ranks. In short, the design is a little world of its own, to 
be explored at leisure. Upon this piece, as much as any, rests 
Shigenaga's claim to headship of a school. 

81. KiYONOBU About 1753. 

Print in two colors. 

Actor, surrounded by jars, fighting with a hydra-headed dragon. 

The old Torii veteran still gives us striking drawing and composition, 
and a new disposition of the blacks and yellows, which makes us think 
of tortoise-shell. 

82. KiYONOBU About 1753. 

Print in two colors. 

Actors, girl leading figure on horseback. 
What a difierence from the last in tone ! Here is a spring-like scale 
of coloring in rose, ash, and black. One still marks the tortoise-shell 
efiect upon the horse. 

83. Torii Kiyomitsu About 1753. 

Print in two colors. 

Actor selling boxes. 
Kiyomitsu, the third in the official list of the Torii line, and one of the 
destined leaders of the future, now appears for the first time. If either 
the aged Kiyonobu or Kiyomasu were his father, it is strange that 
none of his work should have remained of a date much earlier than 
1750. I have never seen a single piece of his hand-colored work. He 
may have been a son adopted by one of them late in life. But what- 


ever his relationship, he is as clearly in training for the successor as 
was Toyonobu in the School of Okumura ; and from the first he shows 
himself worthy of his name, as a painstaking and prolific workman, 
and as an original designer. 

The pose here shows very decided vigor, an infusion of new blood 
into Kiyonobu's somewhat enfeebled actor forms. The obsolescent 
check appears again in the underskirt. There is broad treatment of 
the dark greens and blacks. Elsewhere the patterns show change to a 
repetition of rather trivial forms, which is characteristic of the new 
Horeiki design. 

84. KiYONOBU About 1754. 

Print in two colors. 

Actors, young boy and girl. 
This is one of the most beautiful specimens of the aged Kiyonobu's 
work during the period Horeiki, after the death of Masanobu. The 
lines have something of the old characteristic Torii sweep, of its best 
hand-colored period during Kioho, about 1720. The ground of the 
dresses is a delicious solid rose, upon parts of which are thrown 
sparsely patterns in soft green and embossed white. The color and 
state of this print are exceptionally fine, the embossing being specially 
delightful and fresh. 

55. ToRH KiYOHiRO About 1754. 

Print in two colors. 

Actor as a seller of vegetables. 
That there should have been still another scion of the Torii house, 
whose work, like that of Kiyomitsu's, never appears before 1750, is 
doubly extraordinary. They would seem to be almost necessarily 
grandsons of one of the two older men ; sons — who knows ? — of Kiyo- 
tada, whose work has long since disappeared. However it be, Kiyo- 
hiro is an artist of almost equal ability with Kiyomitsu. It is a 
question whether his works are not even more genial. At any rate, 
between 1750 and 1765 he follows Kiyomitsu like his shadow, even as 
Kiyomasu had followed Kiyonobu from 1700 to 1755. 

This is a fine, clear work of his, especially in the blacks and greens of 
his oddly compressed chrysanthemum pattern. The pine and bamboo 
preside harmoniously, like a well-trained couple, in the backgrotmd. 

56. KreoMASU About 1754. 

Print in two colors. 

Figure issuing from mouth of actor, like a spirit. 
This very late work of Kiyomasu is original and beautiful in color. 
The green has become an olive, the rose a pale claret. The woman 
still wears an odi with checks. 


87- KiYONOBU About 1755- 

Print in two colors. 

Actors. Woman helping a man into his outer garment. 

Here is another original combination in almost solid coloring. The 
green has become a dark warm citrine, which throws up the heavy 
reds into fine orange vermilion, against which the blacks also are 
richly massed. 

With this piece we come to the end of the work of these grand old 
Torii patriarchs. Whether it was in this year, or the next, that 
Kiyonobu passed away, and for what short period Kiyomasu survived 
him, is not certainly known. Certainly the contemporary longevity 
of these two men and of Masanobu, devoted to solid work for more 
than half a century, is one of the most interesting phenomena in art 
history. They witnessed great and most important changes. I<eaders 
were they in all the innovations ; the large-sized ink ladies of Hoyei, 
the tanye of Shotoku, the hand-colored work of Kioho, and, last and 
most important, the prints in two colors from Kuampo to Horeiki. The 
prolonged prestige of their art so rooted it in popular estimation that 
there was no possible course for it after their death but healthy growth. 

88. ToYONOBU About 1756. 

Painting on a kakemono. 
A belle, and two attendant girls. 
l,et us now pause for an instant and review the situation. We have 
studied minutely the Ukioye of the first half of the eighteenth century. 
We have seen it to be woven of two strands : the pictorial work of the 
School of Choshun, and the printed work of the Yedo triumvirate. 
This latter line itself breaks gradually into two parallel movements : 
one Masanobu's, whose printed subjects approximate to the painted 
ones of Choshun' s followers ; the other Kiyonobu's, whose work tends^ 
to concentrate in the direction of actor drawing. 

What then was the state of Ukioye art, when about 1756 all the 
original leaders of these diversified movements were dead? Upon 
whom had the mantle fallen to be transmitted in turn to the geniuses 
of a later age ? There was still the double-strand : the pictorial line 
of Choshun still represented by Shunsui and Tsunemasa ; the group 
of the print designers still represented in its twofold subdivision of 
Torii and Okumura. Of the Torii we have now Kiyomitsu as the 
acknowledged head, with Kiyohiro a close second. Of the Okumura 
the name has disappeared ; and the rich inheritance from Masanobu 
is divided between Ishikawa Toyonobu and Nishimura Shigenaga. 
Thus stands the case down to 1765 ; and in the transition period of 
the next ten years we have to consider the four men above mentioned 
as the great masters of print designs. It is now time for us to see 
what they were able of their unaided genius to efiect. 


This example of a painting from the hand of Toyonobu is a great 
rarity. I have seen but two others. Here we see the small patterns 
of Horeiki in conscientious pen-execution. Blue can be freely added 
to diversify the red and olive. 

89. Toyonobu About 1756, 

I<arge print in two colors. 

Two large figures of actors. 
Here is a perfect sample of Toyonobu's solid dress-designing in red 
and green. With the death of Kiyonobu perhaps he felt called upon to 
help Kiyomitsu out in his chosen subjects. In fact, from now onward 
there is a good deal of interchange between the two branch schools 
in this respect. This print is a proof. Blacks and pinks and soft 
olives actually glow between the sharp demarcations of their perfect 

90. Toyonobu About 1756. 

Ivarge hand-colored print. 

Group of boy, girl, and child. 
But here, in Toyonobu's work, we strike what has become an anomaly 
in recent years, a hand-colored print. From head-dress and style 
there can be no doubt of the late date. Probably he felt that he must 
not let Masanobu's practice lapse. And there is indication that this 
was to be an exceptional, careftil, and expensive piece in the wonder- 
fully "watered" background. This, printed in pearl gray, has 
already demanded a second block for itself ; there is no other resource 
but to add by hand the requisite wealth of coloring. 

How prophetic of Harunobu this treatment of the subject, romantic 
love of the very young ! The boy and girl have been practising 
music together, like the groups in Shigenaga's triptych. Carried 
away by emotion, they have thrown down book, ivory lute-striker, 
and pipe-case, and, regardless of the astonished child, she has risen to 
entice him, only half-resisting to some more secluded bower. How 
graceful the lines of her drapery, as she sways in the very moment of 
unrestraint with a sort of languid, feminine delicacy ! How fine the 
action of the child. This is indeed a Harunobu in the style of a 
decade earlier than the Harunobu we know. 


Toyonobu About 1756. 

Large hand-colored print. 

Girl leading boy on horseback. 
This piece, evidently one of the same set with the preceding, is even 
more brilliant in color. The clouding of the gray background is won- 
derful ; while the blue and the claret strike new notes. Probably the 
edition of this perfect printing was very limited. I have not seen 
anything like it before. 


92. KiYOMiTStr About 1757. 

Print in two colors 

Girl who carries sea-water for the manufacture of salt, as seen in a 

famous No dance and play. 

Kiyomitsu now appears as Torii master in his own right, with quali- 
ties characteristic of his well-known future manner ; small heads and 
features, and great formal grace in long-sleeved, close-skirted drapery. 
Here still we find him working in two colors, but solidly and broadly 
designed, with little pattern. 

93. ZiYOHiRO About 1758. 

Print in two colors, uncut triptych. 

Three girls, with tree and bird backgrounds. 

Here the firee flower and feather patterns are new. Especially beauti- 
ful is the large camelia embroidery, on the right. An exceedingly 
rare and beautiful specimen of Kiyohiro's earlier manner. 

94. Tanaka Masunobu About 1754. 

Print in two colors. 


But the four men we have designated as leaders of the transition were 
not the only workers in this age. There was a host of pupils, many 
of whom are now forgotten. Several are well known designers of 
power. One of these is Masunobu. He was evidently a pupil of 
Kiyonobu. This is evidently a print earlier than the last, but his work 
is met with later in Horeiki. 

95. Yamamoto Yoshinobu About 1758. 

Print in two colors. 

Girl, just risen, at her toilet. 
This is a work of real genius, naive and odd like Shigenaga, of whom 
this Yoshinobu was probably a pupil. It is an early appearance of the 
nude in Ukioye art. The greens are broadly treated ; the flower and 
bird design on the screen is as classic as ancient Kano. It is not cer- 
tain that this artist is the same as the one who afterward calls himself 
Komai Yoshinobu ; but one strongly suspects it. 

96. Suzuki Harunobu About 1758. 

I/arge print in two colors. 

Two actors as warriors fighting. 
Another of the fledglings in Shigenaga' s nest ! Already illustrated 
books have appeared by him for several years, rivalling in delicate 
treatment of youth even Toyonobu's. His single sheet prints in red 
and green alone are rare. No one apparently suspected at this date 
that he was the coming man. Yet even here we see manifested a 
power over line which strongly recalls that of Kiyomasu in the early 
century, and a wild unexpected massing of the blacks to which no one 


except Masanobu has heretofore treated us. It is most interesting to 
contrast its vigor with the almost eflFeminacy of Horunobu's later and 
better known work ; though, as we shall see, Uke Masanobu again, 
just before his death he rises to a supreme power in which delicacy 
and force are equal factors. 

97. Shigenaga About 1759. 

Ivarge print in three colors. 

Interior of a large hall. 

But now, what are our new friends going to do ? Merely perpetuate 
a tradition of red and green designing ? One wonders, but rejoices 
that they have stinted themselves so long. Their well-grounded 
mastery over simple resource is solid bed-rock on which to build. It 
may be supposed that such experiment of Toyonobu's, as in Number 
91, reveals restless desire for more room, suggests the possibility of a 
third color block. Who started this innovation is again not certainly 
known, though with some show of probability it has been ascribed to 
Shigenaga, Its date, too, is uncertain, but it can hardly have been 
earlier than 1758. Head-dress and pattern changed so little during 
Horeiki that proofs are vague. But there seems reason to think the 
first new color block tried was a yellow, and that this proof of 
Shigenaga's exhibits one of the earliest attempts. Red, green, and 
black are combined as before ; but where some of the whites formerly 
would have fallen, we now find clear yellows. The perfect harmony 
we have known so long is evidently disturbed. The third color gives 
a garish look, though the dark and light is well managed. It will 
take some years of varied experiment wholly to absorb it ; but in the 
course of this we shall find some charming efiects of transition. 

98. Harunobu About 1760. 

Tall print in three colors. 

Shoki delivering a letter to a girl by one of his pet imps. 
We have seen the tall print, as exemplified in Masanobu, gradually 
narrowing until it assumes the present proportion, which remains sub- 
stantially the shape of the tall print, or kakemonoye, for the next thirty 
years. There is reason for its extensive use ; it could be mounted 
cheaply with a narrow border of paper, as a kakemono with silk, and 
hung against the square modern pillar of an inn or a pleasure-house. 
Were it not for the signature we should judge this work to be 
a charming specimen of Shigenaga. Apart from the humor of the 
subject, the drawing of the girl is sweetly original and naive. But 
what we have here to note is, first, the introduction of the clear yellow 
only in small designs against the red ; but, secondly, that the third 
primary, blue, has been substituted for green, and that both green and 
purple are produced in parts by superposition of two pairs of primaries. 
This is a special device of Harunobu's ; and it is significant in that it 


points to a correct conception of saturated harmony, and the use of the 
secondary olive green as a relatively neutral tint for rocks. 

99. KiYOMiTsu About 1760. 

Kakemonoye in three colors. 

Mother and small child. 
Yet for the moment more immediately satisfactory results were got 
by more frankly simple treatment. Kiyomitsu at once declares him- 
self a leader by the series of widely varied groups of three colors which 
he tries from year to year. The most common at first is the selection 
of a bluish gray in addition to the primitive red and green. In this 
piece we have a lovely example. The blue gray is the prevailing 
ground, and against it the green and the red are embroidered. The 
effect in the sash where the green is sparingly used with black to out- 
line equal checks of red and gray is very beautiful. There is worth 
noting a less formal charm in this work where Kiyomitsu gives us as 
much of the sweet human feeling as Harunobu. The breast of the 
mother about to nurse is charmingly drawn. 

100. Kiyomitsu. About 1761. 

Large print in three colors. 

The No dance of the bell. 

Here we see Kiyomitsu in his most beautiful manifestation. The 
third tone is olive gray, and the greens and reds are low and cool. The 
line is Kiyomitsu's finest, with more dash than Toyonobu's, with the 
perfect grace of Harunobu's later work, and caring more for simple 
oppositions of mass than for the embroidery of patterns. There is 
hardly a finer composition in all Ukioye. 

Id. ToYONOBu About 1 761. 

Kakemonoye in three colors. 

Young nobleman with a football. 
Toyonobu, too, tries the olive gray, against the faded red, and the 
one enamel-like mass of transparent blue green ; it is very delicate. 

102. Kiyomitsu About 1762. 

Kakemonoye in three colors. 

Tall girl reading a letter. 
But, after all, Eliyomitsu remains for the moment without question 
master of the field. Between 1760 and 1765 his works are more 
numerous than those of all his rivals put together. What could be 
more classically pure in sweep, and more sparkUng in color, than this 
perfect print? "Elegant" is the true word for it. There is still a 
cool blue gray, over which in small passages the red has been printed 
for a quiet purple, and these four tones are most wonderfully harmo- 
nized with the strong glossy blacks of the obi. No design in two 
colors could be more satisfactory. 



103. KiYOHiRO About 1762. 

Large print in three colors. 

Actor dancing. 

This is a very rich print with olive gray for a solvent. New effects 
are made by combining this with white and black directly, or with 
white and red. 

104. KrsroMi'rsTJ About 1762. 

Large print in three colors. 

Actor, male subject, dancing. 

Yet Kiyohiro cannot more than hold the pace set by his senior Kiyo- 
mitsu. It seems as if the latter grew finer at every moment. This 
piece uses the olive gray with almost unrivalled vigor. The figure is 
in strong motion ; black plays only a subordinate role, and yet the 
efiect is as solidly intense as it is beautifiil. Whites hardly enter into 
the pattern at all. The harmony arises from the two shades of green. 

105. KiYOMiTsu About 1763. 

Large print in three colors. 

Girl opening an umbrella. 
But Kiyomitsu has yet other resources. Here he bleaches the thin 
dent red out into pale orange by throwing up against it a thick new 
ochrish red, which now takes the role of chief dark. Against this, 
too, the superposition of the blue gray over the ient hardly gives 
purple, as heretofore, but veritably a neutral olive. Kiyomitsu is 
finding out that colors are whatever their juxtaposition makes them, 
and that there is endless room for variation. This is a splended com- 
position, the new red holding grandly against the background. 

106. Kiyomitsu About 1763. 

Print in three colors. 

Here the new red is used as pattern against the gray as a ground. 
One can hardly recognize his old friend bem in the spots of what 
appear warm orange. Here is actor-drawing as vigorous as of old 
307. Kiyomitsu About 1763. 

Print in three colors. 

Actors ; at the fish-hook shop. 

Lent by Samuel Colman of New York. 
Here are the same colors as in the last, only the new red has been im- 
pressed with the lightest of touches, while the 6em has been applied 
as thick as possible. The result is something like a companionship 
between two shades of brick-red. The great feature, however, is the 
broad differentiation of the two figures ; the standing female mostly 
in gray into which black weaves a new harmony, the kneeling boy in 
an original triple check of red, gray, and mingled bem and white. 


Not content witli his two reds, Ziyomitsu lias concocted a still darker 
one for the anvil where he superposes the new one over the gray. The 
whole effect is soberly beautiful. 
io8. ToYONOBU. About 1763. 

Print in three colors. 

Young girl with an open umbrella. 

Gracefiolly does Toyonobu make use of Kiyomitsu's color discovery. 
The new red, a little less heavy than before, is used for the body of the 
dress, while the blue is used in mass only on the light umbrella. On 
the costume itself, the blue, the orange beni, and white are spotted 
almost equally here and there in small pattern, producing beautiful and 
sparkling results. The figure is one of the most innocently girlish 
Toyonobu ever drew. 
109. Harunobtt About 1763, 

Kakemonoye in three colors. 

Girl at a fair, showing off a monkey on a pole. 
This glorious proof print is indeed one of the rarest and greatest 
triumphs of the transition period of Horeiki. We are glad it was 
done, for it shows us unique and supreme mastery in handling primary 
and secondary colors ; and we are glad Harunobu did it, because it 
reveals in a new phase the many-sidedness of his genius. The three- 
color blocks now are firankly for rich blue, a beni red as strong and rosy 
as it can be made, and a yellow, clear but not startling. The first 
point to notice is the equal balance, and magnificent interweaving of 
these three. Nothing approaching this effect has been seen since 
Masanobu's latest hand-color work. In the second place black and 
white are used in decided small accents to help diversify this trinity 
of ground- tones ; and third, the blue and yellow superposed for green, 
and the red and blue superposed for purple, cut up through the pat- 
tern in small fine blades, enriching wherever they go. Notice, too, that 
these secondary colors are used in the pattern realistically as well as 
decoratively ; this green is the succulent blade-Uke leaf, and the 
purple the fine blossom of Japan's native iris. Here, for the first time 
since Masanobu, purple comes out against the yellow as a positive 
rich color; and here in the kerchief on the head (also recallmg 
Masanobu) he has deepened it into plum by alternating it with bands 
of the blue. I^astly in the monkey the fine lines of the hair upon the 
ground give us a soft gray; and thus with three-color blocks Haru- 
nobu has created a grand composition in a mosaic of nine distinct 
tones. Who can doubt that the end of block limitation must be near ? 
Why should not a master who can diversify like this have as many 
blocks as the tones he desires? Superposition restricts both color 
intensity and range. We could almost wish for the sake of complete- 
ness that Harunobu had also superposed the yellow and red, making; 
the third secondary orange. 


no. KiYOMiTSu. About 1763. 

Kakemonoye in three colors. 

Young girl with hairpin. 

Is it possible that Kiyomitsu now began to recognize he was face to 
face with a young and dangerous rival ? that he must invent new and 
more brilliant harmonies to hold the pace ? At least he follows Haru- 
nobu in the selection of a pure blue ; and in this example he uses every 
device known to him to variegate it tastefully. Never have his lines 
of drapery been more gloriously graceful ; never have small patterns 
and checks been more carefully and daintily disposed. The green 
modifies and darkens the blue, and against the two the pink comes 
out sunny like blossoms in open air. Yet there remains a jaunty 
sparkle and swing in Harunobu which even this most perfect of formal 
beauties can not quite rival. There is to be mortal struggle between 
the two men. 

111. KtYOMiTSTJ. About 1764. 

Ivarge print in three colors. 

Actors, male and female parts. 

Once more Kiyomitsu tries what can be done with his new earth red. 
He dilutes it with gray' until it becomes a soft snuff orange. The 
beni then he uses in the Hghtest possible tint, which comes out a sort 
of Naples yellow. The third color is as pure a neutral gray as can be 
found. Now how can these be grandly treated? Let solid black 
swing in long sweeps against the straw yellow ; throw the latter in 
cirrus clouds over a sky of fine gray in the projecting under-sleeve ; 
treat the male figure by contrast as a delicate niello of the two reds 
and black worked in fine lines over the gray. It is a superb concep- 
tion. It attains a greater conscious breadth than Harunobu has yet 
reached. Perhaps Kiyomitsu' s supremacy is still safe. 

112. Kiyomitsu. About 1764. 

Kakemonoye in three colors. 

Man with umbrella and box. 
But one more step in breadth has Kiyomitsu to take, and that is to 
eschew pattern altogether, except upon the obi. It is grandly done ; 
the black spots of the head-gear and of the box are superb. Here is 
a work that for large feeling may rank almost side by side with the 
Kakemonoye that Horunobu will do later. It is high praise to say of 
it that, were it not signed, it might be possible to mistake it for a 

113. ToRii KiYONAGA About 1764. 

Print in three colors. 

Actor, female figure. 

" Why should we stop for this boy ? " " How gauch and crude he 
is ! " " Who is he ? " " Only a young pupil of Kiyomitsu." " It 


is rumored that he has adopted him as a son." Thus we may imagine 
a conversation of contemporary connoisseurs over this excessively rare 
work. ' ' Yet the blue in it is daring, ' ' Harunobu may have remarked ; 
then passed on, and thought no more about it. I<et us, too, pass on ; 
for he is only a small boy. We cannot possibly know from this that 
here stands the incipient genius who in twenty years more shall rule 
as acknowledged emperor over the whole nobility of Ukioye. 

114. KiTAO Shigemasa About 1764. 

Print in three colors. 

Actor, male part. 
Another boy ? Yes, we have not heard of him before. But we shall 
later on. He has already a skilful hand. He is an accepted pupil of 
Shigenaga, from whom he has borrowed his professional name Shige. 
There is a fine breadth in his grays and yellows. It is quite possible 
that he may turn out a genius. 

115. Harunobu About 1764. 

Print in three colors. 

Actor, part of female dancer. 
What is Harunobu trying to do ? No one can quite find out. He is 
experimenting possibly. Kiyomitsu is not afraid. See, Harunobu 
has relinquished rivalry along the line of breadth and grandeur. 
He is trying to be delicate and pure. This looks something like a 

But there is genius in its quiet efiect. The line is exceptionally 
fine. The rose is almost a cherry red against a cool green of equal 
value. The yellow enlivens, chiefly in small bits of the pattern, which 
in vine and fan-folded paper is genteel to a degree. There is purple 
by superposition, too ; but only on the head kerchief. 

116. Shigemasa About 1765. 

Print in three colors. 

Actor, in dance with the bell. 
How closely Shigemasa presses behind Harunobu with new genius ! 
Yellow, and black, and grey-green here form together a new color 
chord. An exquisite rose tint enriches the rich mosaic. 

117. Harunobu Dated 1765. 

Color print. 

Girl, as the Buddhist divinity Fugen, riding on a white elephant. 

Lent by Samuel Colman of New York. 
Yes, Harunobu has been experimenting. The new art with which he 
astonishes the world makes of this year, 1765, a dividing line between 
the two halves of Ukioye. So proud is he of it that he stamps the 
date upon some of his first prints in the new manner. 


I^ooking back we can now see that all before this date has been 
preparation. Looking forward we can see that all after it is fruition. 
The change was bound to come on the liberation of color printing's full 
possibilities ; but it is fortunate that its initiation fell to the lot of as 
subtle and daring a genius as Harunobu's. I<et us pause a moment 
and survey the conditions. 

The first outbreak of Ukioye was devoted to painting, whose line 
had been perpetuated unbroken in the School of Choshun, a school 
still represented at this date by the veterans Shunsui and Tsunemasa, 
and the former's young pupil, Shunsho. At the century's commence- 
ment, single sheet printing burst forth in a powerful stream, whose 
two branches, that of Okumura, and that of the Torii, had flowed on 
side by side for fifty years. On the death of the founders, the heritage 
of the former had passed to Shigenaga and Toyonobu, of the latter to 
Ziyomitsu. All these leaders were still in the field at this date, but 
unprepared for the stroke which was to prove them for ever super- 
annuated. To them printing in outline to be colored by hand had 
been transmitted from their ancestors. Faithfully had they worked 
to aid the new cause of printing in green and red ; boldly had they 
sounded all the possibilities of printing in three colors. Yet exquisite 
and supremely aesthetic as their best designs were, they lacked much 
of the fulness of pictorial representation and beauty. They were 
mosaics spotted on a white ground. The ground had not itself 
become an organic factor in the picture. 

The year 1765, therefore, cuts like a knife through the ranks of the 
Ukioyeshi. The older leaders practically cease to produce, being dis- 
tanced in the race. Shunsui ceases to paint, for a moment tries print- 
ing ; but immediately resigns in favor of his pupil Shunsho. Kiyomitsu 
still designs handbills and stage advertisements, and paints Kamban ; 
but when he occasionally prints in color, it is as a mere imitation of 
Harunobu. His adopted son Kiyonaga will still be for many years too 
immature to rival anybody. So the house of Torii for the moment 
undergoes a sort of eclipse. Toyonobu, likewise, ceases to be a regu- 
lar contributor ; though occasionally he follows meekly the new 
popular style. Too old, and too set in his ways to pace at the new 
rating, he practically relinquishes the headship of his line to his 
famous pupil Toyohani, a young man like Shigemasa, whose work we 
have not yet seen. I^astly, Shigenaga stops work, and it is probable 
that he does not long survive. His pupil Harunobu has distanced 
him, and everybody else, as inventor of a new art ; and he leaves the 
tradition of his school and name in the hands of his other great, but 
younger pupil, Shigemasa. 

What a sudden change in personalities ! Who, then, are the new 
men, upon whom the future of Ukioye depends ? Pupils all of the 
time-honored schools, men, except Harunobu, with reputations yet to 


win, all bold innovators rejoicing in the consciousness of power, and 
the hope for fame. For the moment, all eyes are turned upon Haru- 
nobu ; but, looking forward over the next twenty years of mighty 
achievement, as we alien students are now able to do, we can see the 
four men, who wait at the threshold, become founders of as many dis- 
tinct and parallel family schools, four crowned heads of as many inde- 
pendent dukedoms warring for hegemony, the supreme masters of 
Ukioye's early and 'glorious summer. These four lords of the future 
are Suzuki Harunobu, Katsukawa Shunsho, Utagawa Toyoharu, and 
Kitao Shigemasa. 

Harunobu, the fourth great figure in the history of Ukioye, successor 
of Matahei, Moronobu, and Masanobu, like the latter, did not discover 
his true power until late in his career. There is some reason to think 
that he had been working under Shigenaga since 1735. But nine- 
teen twentieths of all the work by which the world will recognize his 
greatness were still to be accomplished in the eight short years now to 
follow. When we judge from the next twenty-six numbers in this 
exhibition what wonders his unaided genius accomplished in that 
brief period, we feel that no words of praise can be too extravagant. 

We have promised to exhibit the relation of Harunobu to the school 
of Shunsui. The new men cared little for the traditions of their teach- 
ers. They were ready to work in any line that opened. Harunobu 
perceived that Shunsui had kept his position pure, as "a Japanese 
artist," fi-om contamination with the vulgarities of the stage ; that he 
had realized something of the idyllic in Japanese life. He per- 
ceived, on the other hand, that the school of Okumura had fallen 
more and more under the Torii influence. In his rivalry with Kiyo- 
mitsu, he was doubtless prone to underrate the latter' s merits ; but he 
was led by all this to declare himself the true successor of the painters, 
in the department of printing. "Why must I degrade myself to the 
delineation of actors ? " he proudly asks ; " I am a Japanese painter, ' ' 
(Yamato-yeshi). From this declaration we may deduce his chief 
characteristics. He will be the painter of life, of youthful Ufe, of 
youthful love ; never before adequately treated in Oriental art. His 
prints shall be worthy substitutes for paintings, clear and refined in 
action, strong in presence, figures set in completely rendered surround- 
ings and bathed in real atmosphere, patterns on dresses subordinated 
to the masses they decorate. All this, perhaps, did not dawn upon 
him at once. The key to his first work is not so much the multi- 
plicity of his color blocks ; as his striving for atmosphere and back- 
groimd. Never before in Ukioye prints had the whole ground been 
tinted to represent sky, and earth, and sea. Never again in his career 
will Harunobu deign to do other than fill his whole picture with har- 
monious and expressive tints. 

In this rare work, among the very first of his first experiments, we 


can mark the extent of the change by comparing it with number 115 
of the preceding year. Here the figure fairly floats, like a vision, in 
the bath of soft gray atmosphere. The lines are left faint, the hair 
printed only as a thin film. Evidently what Harunobu is aiming at is 
texture. He has not yet learned how perfectly to smear the block for 
his tinted ground. We witness the stress of the attempt, how the 
color was laid unevenly upon the wood by a brush. Harunobu is 
already anxious about his papers ; it is a question of contact between 
two perfect surfaces, contact as delicate as the first touch of lovers' 
hands. Here he has apparently used five blocks ; and four of them, 
including the purple, are modifications of gray. The face, as always 
hereafter, will come out white against the ground. It is now a prob- 
lem of infinite and harmonious refinement in every branch of the art, 
fi-om design and material to the last loving pressure of the printer. 

118. Harunobu 1765. 

Color print. 

Two girls reading a letter. 

A few months later in the same year, perhaps, Harunobu has solved 
the problem of printing an even ground tiat. Against it he has 
designed in tones so thin that they have generally very much faded. 
Six blocks were here used apparently ; and one of them was for beni 
red. In the purple-cloud pattern upon the yellow dress we see 
Harunobu working with a new opaque mixed pigment. In the earlier 
years of Meiwa he tried every sort of opaque color mixture, as we 
shall see. Observe how microscopically perfect the hair-lines of feature 
on the little iimocent faces are cut. Where can more femininely 
beautiful drapery be found than in the kneeling figure ? Harunobu' s 
first note is the extreme of delicacy. 

119. Harunobu ^^^(>. 

Color print. 

Young girl and servant walking in the street. 

It seems as if the art could hardly achieve greater perfection. The 
gray ground is warmer, the architectural corner adds two more soft 
background tints. The willowy figures, unconsciously shy as flowers, 
are swathed in warm colors never before seen in Eastern art. Why 
should the servant's clothing be diversified by pattern ? What could 
be more chaste than a snow-covered willow for the design of her gen- 
tle mistress' robe? There are three quiet tints of warm olive, beside 
the striking orange citrine. Beni has been reserved for the finer pat- 
terns of the obi. Nine or ten blocks have been utilized here. It is a 
secret of the color-magician that the olive green of the lady's dress 
should carry at a distance as a chocolate red. 


120. Harunobu 1766. 

Color print. 

Woman and child at a temple lavatory. 
Here the tones are stronger, and solid black unifies. The dark choco- 
late trunks of the sacred cryptomeria, and the dead green of their foli- 
age, are samples of the new opaques, here throwing forward the light 
gray of the granite block. Harunobu in this year sometimes uses 
solid rose for his skies. There is no color-thought he dares not 
attempt to express. 

121. Harxjnobu Late in 1766. 

Color print. 

A belle at the door, with two child attendants and a dog. 

I/cnt by Clarence Buckingham of Chicago. 
In this wonderful print Harunobu about reaches the extreme possibil- 
ities of his experimental stage. There are foiirteen or fifteen distinct 
tones, lavished in a perfect shower of wealth on every part of the 
design. The background itself is a mosaic of light. But the most 
extraordinary thing is that they hold their place without undue confu- 
sion. This implies supreme mastery over two of the intrinsic dimen- 
sions of color, which are not always considered ; namely, the darkness 
and lightness of colors {notan), and the brilliancy and grayness of 
colors (seiutsu). He has now discovered how to use the very opaque- 
ness of tones over paper so as to give them transparency of effect. What 
could be more liquid or enamel-like than the cool blue of the hanging 
curtain ? How finely the yellow of the pillar cuts it ! Observe its 
texture, as painting ; the pigment, like spring frost, touching the hill- 
tops of the surface, but sparing the valleys. Thus is color physically 
diluted, as it cannot be in water-color wash, by letting the white %ht, 
held in solution by the paper's fibres, diffuse itself outward through 
the thin veil of the pigment. Need we wonder that the name nishi' 
kiye, or embroidery painting, was now bestowed upon this new art ? 

Harunobu Probably early in 1767. 

Color print. 

Girl discovering bamboo shoot in the snow. 

But Harunobu has satisfied himself at last with experiments. He has 
tried all materials, the most extravagant wealth of combinations. The 
problem now is to use these as wanted ; not as ends to be displayed for 
their own technical splendor, but as means to expression. Here is 
seen the largeness of Harunobu's soul. He deliberately returns for a 
moment to simpUcity of design, to the pure feeling for his subject. 
No matter if only seven blocks are used. In this very restraint of 
means shall lie the expression of perfect atmosphere, of out-door feel- 
ing. How beautifully the snow and the sky are rendered ; how soft 
and melting the total effect ! If we compare this with the fiiiest work 
of but three years ago, what a change ! 



123- Harunobu Probably early in 1767. 

Color print. 

Girls catcbing minnows in a net. 
Here tbe out-door feeling and the tone are even a shade finer. The 
composition is supremely beautiful, though simple. The drawing of 
these slight innocent figures, wading with shortened skirts, is incom- 
parable in sweet sentiment. Here, as frequently elsewhere, Harunobu 
has borrowed, or adopted for color-filling, a delicate outline design 
from one of his earlier illustrated books. The water plants in the dis- 
tance are things almost as lovable as the children. Again, what could 
be more exquisite than the three tints of sky, earth, and water ? 
Against these the figures come out firmly in decidedly darker tones. 
These colors are hardly in the least faded. Here we have in all its 
flower-like freshness Harunobu's original color feeling. The print, 
too, is a proof. Mark the exquisite finish of the heads. There is no 
reason to assume anything like over significance in the absence of the 
artist's name. There was no ordinary practice in Japan of making 
"proofs before letters." Where names occur, they were ordinarily 
cut in the ink block from the first, as we shall afterwards see in the 
case of Kiyonaga. It is true that, in some of Harunobu's earliest 
work, he disdained signature. Who could mistake a Harunobu for 
the work of another hand ? And in these cases, it is true, that when, 
later in his career, or after his death, greedy publishers essayed to 
multiply cheap editions of his first works, for which a demand from 
the country had recently sprung up, they added for the uncritical 
masses a patent of the master's hand in a signature struck in where 
none had been before. 

In design, preservation, and perfect beauty, this may be regarded as 
the typical masterpiece of Harunobu's earlier Meiwa career. 

124. Harunobu Probably late in 1767. 

Color print. 

Child playing with fish in a dish. 
This print is notable for its deliberately broad treatment of quiet, 
opaque tints ; about eight in aU. Every color, even the beni, has 
been thickened with a slight body. We first meet on the dress of the 
central figure a frank blue, which, as frequently in Harunobu's early 
prints, has been the first to fade. How cool the whole scheme is to 
the eye ! How finely disposed the relative unbroken masses ! Is it pos- 
sible that Harunobu, like the great Masanobu, after mastering all the 
problems of delicacy, is now aiming at strength ? 

125. Harunobu Probably late in 1767. 


Young girl with a broom in snow. 
This form, used sporadically since 1750, now becomes in the hands of 


Harunobu a key to some of his grandest compositions. Such tall 
narrow spaces are most difficult to handle. They stimulate what 
strength there is in a designer. 

This is indeed one of Harunobu' s most beautiful out-door subjects. 
The finely preserved tones of the figure are still opaque, but solid and 
dark, bringing it out in most splendid relief against the natural gray 
of a wintry sky. The irregular patches of thick snowflakes in the air, 
the drifts piled upon the fence, and, above all, the crystalline spears 
of the frosty plum branches, compose the most perfect rendering of 
winter in Japanese prints. It is all pure and keen as a blast firom the 
slopes of Fujiyama. But there is also an unexpected grandeur in the 
color- note. The fence, silver-crowned, blazes with Kiyomitsu's mag- 
nificent opaque red, thrown now into claret by the absorbing mass of 
the neighboring olives. It is the daring note of a supreme colorist. 
If we shut it out for a moment with the hand, we see how relatively 
commonplace the rest of the design becomes. Yes, indeed, Harunobu 
is capable of passing into a phase of very great strength. 

126. .Harunobu Probably 1768, 


Yotmg girl and attendant. 
This is one of the most perfectly preserved specimens of Harunobu's 
coloring I have ever seen. It is not so strong as the preceding, but 
wonderfully graceful. Such a use in large mass of pure ethereal flat 
blue has never been known before. Kvetywhere is perfection of tex- 
ture. Here we must now notice, too, the typical hair arrangement of 
Meiwa. From the first of Horeiki onward, the helmet-shaped form 
left by Masanobu had been preserved with little change other than a 
periodical lifting and depressing of the tail. Toward the latter part 
of Horeiki the shell-like projection over the ears had been tempo- 
rarily fiattened somewhat close again to the head. But since 1767 it 
has been decidedly lifted up and widened, until now it gives a wide, 
expanded look to the top of the head, like a bird in flight ; a sort of 
efiect absolutely new, never once hinted at in all the styles of coiffure 
from Matahei downward. This is a most beautiful example of the 
Harunobu head with whose character fashion had so much to do. 

127. Harunobu 1768. 

Color print. 

Two little girls at a temple gate. 
This is one of the most fascinating, girlish, ripely original, and deli- 
cately flower-like of all Harunobu's designs. The faint outlines stand 
for little, and let the tones melt into the ground. The head kerchiefs 
are merely embossed whites. The patterns and the obis continue the 
band of stars begun by the cherries. How far away the landscape lies 
folded in strata of blue mist ! That temple roof in the distance is an 


island. The purple umbrella fairly floats in the air. The whole 
painting palpitates with the soft tremor of a spring atmosphere. This 
is perhaps Harunobu's supreme piece in the line of perfect sweetness. 
Pit}^ it is but a momentary note of perfect balance ; he will never try < 
it again. 

128. Harunobu Probably 1768. 

Color print. 

Boy and girl fishing for fireflies at night. 

But there are compensations. Here is a glorious example of a new 
manner which Harunobu from now on more frequently adopts. The 
colors look more transparent. They seem to play over one another like 
veils. In this case the new purple splendidly renders the gauzy sum- 
mer covering of the little girl's bare arms. The soft blue of the water 
is fading away into a yellow, as is its wont. The stronger blue of the 
boy's dress seems elusive. Every color seems about to fly away, or 
pass over into some other ; all but the great solemn sky of black, 
which throws out the rest of nature's twilight tones into mysterious 
glory. Here is a perfect fusion of delicacy in detail and power of total 

129. Hahunobu Probably 1769. 

Color print. 

The cock-fight. 

I^ent by Clarence Buckingham of Chicago. 
In this beautiful piece Harunobu reasserts his tendency to design muck 
in beautifiil tones of green. The embossing on the print is superb. 
The birds are marvels of color printing. Here in the boy we have 
the transparent gauzy feeling. At this date Harunobu's figures tend 
to elongate, the heads to become an oval. Here on the verandah we 
notice for the first time the use of red lead, but in a quality different 
from that cheaper variety whose oxidizing has tarnished so many prints 
of Anyei. 

Haktjnobu Probably 1769. 


TaU standing girl. 
Here we notice the new features, the elongation of face, the willowy- 
thinness of the body, the use of soft unbroken green, the delicate red 
lead upon the woodwork. Strong notes of black, too, tend to come 
in as accent. The toning is exceptionally delicate and pure. 

Harunobu 1769- 

Color print. 

Boy leading girl on horseback. 

Lent by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 
In some respects this must be considered the central triumph of all 
Harunobu's out-door pictorial designs. The colors are again opaque ; 




they fill tlie wtiole space perfectly with natural expression. We may 
also say that this is the most beautiful colored landscape in Ukioye. 
At a distance the elements of the composition show as flat masses, 
defined by their color values, rather than by their outlines. It is the 
most perfect use of the tones discovered in some of the earlier experi- 
ments. As a composition it is great. Compare it with a Kiyomitsu 
of the early sixties, and see the gap Harunobu has spanned. In some 
sense, as we shall see later, this may even be called the central point 
of all Ukioye. 

132. Harunobu Probably 1769. 


"Woman petting a little dog. 

The beauty of this print lies in the fineness of the head, and in the 
perfect harmony of the soft dove tones, here largely diluted with 

133. Harunobu Probably 1769. 

Color print. 

Girls at recreation. 

lycnt by Howard Mansfield of New York. 
This print is noticeable for its very large dilution of the coloring with 
white. For the first time white itself is used as the solid ground- 
color of a garment. It marks a practice which grows more and more 
upon Harunobu. 

134. Harunobu Probably 1770. 


Very tall girl coming firom her bath. 
This is charming, simple, and naive. There is still greater elongation 
of proportion in body and head during this year. It is doubtless a 
temporary craze, this love for tallness, for we find it in all the other 
designers of this day. It particularly changes the expression of the 
face by elongating the nose. The pattern of the bath-robe is strikingly 
used ; the morning-glories beautifully drawn and set. A richer red 
lead orange on the woodwork has become a prominent note. 

136. Harunobu Probably 1770. 

Color print. 

Young man before two girls at a window. 

Lent by Clarence Buckingham of Chicago. 
Mark here the long nose, the use of intense red lead ; also, what is 
strikingly new, the tendency to use solid black and white in opposing 
masses ; and the beauty of them here is enriched by a pale claret. 
But after all, the wonder of this print is its texture. Was there ever 
such delicious embossing as upon this white dress ? 


137- Harunobu Probably 1770. 


Graceful, tall girl tuning a samisen. 

Ivcnt by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
This design is certainly one of Harunobu's later triumphs. We have 
spoken in the earlier days of Masanobu of a certain "classic " quality 
in the pure drapery. Here is Harunobu scaling a neighboring height. 
The pattern of flying storks and cloud is one of the most beautiftil in 
art. This is a typical head of 1770 to compare with Masanobu' s of 

138. HARUNOBtr Probably 1770. 

Color print. 

I^ady at the entrance of a house. 
Here again is one of Harunobu's splendid creations, but now of his 
later mood. A great band of white wall dotted with painted pines 
runs across the back. The matted floor is the most magnificent 
example of Harunobu's later green, pure, delicious, emerald green. 
Against these two cuts the beautiful kneeling figure of a girl in solid 
black. Her obi is green lightened by white and pink. But the figure 
of the chief lady breaks against the green mats in a dress of Ha- 
runobu's darker beni claret. A small girl in plum purple brings a 
letter ; there is a curtain of plum blue behind at the right. The new 
types of face, so far firom seeming strange, appear wonderfully beauti- 

139. Harunobu Probably 1771. 


Young gentleman with a football. 

It would be hard to find a more ts^pically splendid figure of Ha- 
runobu's latest manner. Was there ever a soft green garment more 
exquisite, more exquisitely combined with broken reds and whites, 
like claret and foam ? How aristocratic the head ! A most perfect 
type it is of the male head at the end of Meiwa. How large the con- 
ception under the delicate coloring ! The slender fence-work of 
bamboo rods adds dignity and color beauty. I<ike Okumura Masa- 
nobu, Harunobu is rising at the very end into unparalleled power. 

140. Harunobu Probably 1771, 

Color print. 

I,ady with chrysanthemums. 
Typical this figure is of the end. There is the Harunobu green in the 
ground. The figure is in a perfectly embossed white cr^pe robe with 
black trimmings. See now how widely the hair-wings at the side 
float high above the ear, carrying up with them the diminishing tail 
which now becomes a continuation of their substance. 


141 and 142. Harunobu Probably end of 1771. 

A pair of Kakemonoye. 

Tall man, and woman. 

But Harunobu has still indeed a last surprise for us. Would any one 
realize the almost superhuman dignity that can lie in the exaggerated 
proportions of the day, let him study these prints. They are faded, to 
be sure, and the fading of the sparse reds and purples doubtless adds 
something to their mystery. Yet, like the fragments of a Greek 
god, the superlative breadth of their design shines through decay. 
It lies in the general disposition of the classic masses, more than 
all in the disposition of intense blacks against the dull cream of 
embossed crapes. With the very femlet on the lady's hem one's 
flesh creeps in loftiness of feeling. The tangle of notan masses at 
her hands is a pictorial idea so new, so strange, so noble, it belongs 
only where the gods sit. Yet the male figure is the greater. There 
is something unearthly about its line themes, orchestrated in black 
and ghost-tints, which lifts one to the infinities of Beethoven's purest 
melodies. The dreamy clarinet-player seems to droop and melt 
away into regions of sublimity where no earthly ear shall follow his 
dying chords. Thus indeed are we glad at the last to have Harunobu 
pass, transfigured, fi-om our vision. 

143. KoRiusAi About 1770. 


Girl and a monkey. 
It is useless to conjecture what might have happened if Harunobu had 
lived. He was not an old man ; he had not reached the fulness of his 
powers. Could he, ten years later, have come face to face in rivalry 
with the maturing Kiyonaga, it is possible that XJkioye might have 
reached even greater heights than in fact it attained. 

Harunobu left many pupils ; but only one, Haruhiro, better known 
as Koriusai, capable of taking up the master's banner, and carrying it 
on to new creative triumphs during the subsequent years. His work 
now we have rapidly to follow. 

If Koriusai were not overshadowed by two giants, Harunobu and 
Kiyonaga, at either end of his career, his reputation might be that of 
XJkioye' s most beautiful designer. But in these days we get so accus- 
tomed to great work, that we hardly stop to rank it. In conception 
and drawing Koriusai is not as intense as Harunobu. But as a color- 
ist he is of the very first order. His tendency is to combine blue and 
orange in passages of great brilliancy. Moreover, he stands alone in 
one odd thing, some inborn power over the natural difficulties of de- 
signing for the narrow Kakemonoye. A series of Kakemonoye by him, 
as in this selection, is a veritable galaxy of splendor. His designs in 
this form outnumber those of all other artists put together, 


Here is an early work of his, contemporary with Harunobu's latest. 
The girlish figure is charming. Here already are his favorite blue 
and orange. 

144. KoRiTJSAi About 1770. 


Girl with a straw hat. 
The delicacy of this coloring is remarkable ; quite unlike the black, 
green, and claret which distinguish Harvmobu at this date. It is clear 
that Koriusai was no mere imitator ; but overflowing with independ- 
ent conceptions. 

145. Koriusai About 1771. 


Dancing girl, with a daimio's black hat. 

This most brilliant print illustrates well all Koriusai's finest charac- 
teristics ; even to the clouding, and the rising sun of Japan. 

146. Koriusai About 1772. 

Small color print. 

Boy and girl on a balcony. 

Here remains all the charm of Harunobu's youthful lovers. Executed 
in the very year of the latter's death, this print in brilliancy of color is 
original with the new leader. 

147. Koriusai About 1772. 


Two girls reading a letter. 
Yet, as if conscious of the new responsibility weighing upon him, he 
soon essays work in quieter, more dignified tones. Here a most deli- 
cious olive coquettes with his plum blue, while the roof and gnarled 
tree above supply the quiet reds. This is notable for another new thing, 
the composition in this narrow space of two equal figures. Harunobu, 
even in his strongest work, had confined himself to one, and that with- 
out background. This is a masterly triumph, though different from, 
yet not unworthy of the dead master. Notice now how the side wings 
of the hair, once started on the course of enlargement, are spreading 
far beyond any previous conceivable bounds. It is a new head, with 
this plateau-like expanse of hair at the top ; it is the head of the new 
period, Anyei, now beginning. The rapid development of this new line 
of evolution in coiffure is one of the most interesting phenomena in 
Ukioye history, and has influenced custom and fashion to this day. 

148. Koriusai About 1773. 


Young girl with fan in gauze dress. 
Who can deny that this most exquisite work is in several senses an 
advance on all that precedes ? From the magnificent drawing of the 


nude parts, to the costume, a dream of textures and colors ; from the 
broken bamboo and back-lying hills, to the black chrysanthemum on 
the circular white fan ; — an elegance, and a harmony of the unex- 
pected ! This is one of Koriusai's finest early heads. 

149. KoRiusAi About 1774. 


Boy leading a girl on horseback through water. 

Here is another superb originality in two-figured composition. There 
is no blue. How fine the tint of the orange horse ! The girl 
droops hke a beautiful flower ; she feels the sentimental spell of the 
barred moon. How sweet and innocent the faces, in spite of their 
elongation, which is aesthetically necessary to balance the increasing 
width of the hair. The whole head itself is shaped like a lily, with a 
cup, and graceful pointed petals. It is the style of Anyei the third. 
It is the year, perhaps, of Koriusai's most charming style. 

150. KoRiusAi About 1774. 


Girl admiring a hanging vine of morning-glories. 
Here perfection of conception, coloring, and printing seems to be 
reached. Womanhood and nature's flowers seem to grow together, in 
a common mood of innocence and sweetness. 

151. KoRiusAi About 1775. 


Boy dropping a love-letter from a window. 
Here Koriusai's proportions have suddenly grown very long. But 
there is continuity of change in the hair. The lady's coifiure of 
Anyei the fourth has expanded its petals upon either side, until they 
hang over by their own weight in bell-shaped cups. At their edge, 
the marvellous unbroken wave of glossy black is seen to break, as if 
some new flower organ were about to grow. This brief transition 
state is very rare to observe. The tail is becoming smaller and rudi- 
mentary, as its substance is sucked up into the wings ; yet it still 
curls up, an organic part of the beauty, like the banner petal-leaves of 
an orchid. 

152. KORIUSAI About 1775. 

Small color print. 

Boy and girl playing a game. 
The Koriusai orange now comes into great prominence. The new 
petal has budded over the ears, breaking the former broad expanse 
into two parallel locks. The wheel of fashion turns rapidly. 



153- KoRiusAi About 1776. 

Small color-print. 

Gail}- dressed belle and attendants proceeding through the snow. 

If not in charm, in richness of color, and in technical perfection, this 
little print about reaches Koriusai's high-water mark. It is all the 
finer in that the warm gray background is so light, and so much in- 
termixture of white plays through the color. The orange is now 
organicallj' used as a diversifier with the true tints of rose. How 
charmingly with the purple it breaks from the heavy snow upon the 
umbrella ! How firmly it holds its separate note upon the fox panel, 
which I suppose they are going to dedicate to some neighboring 
rustic shrine ! 

But mark now the sort of central form at which the extravagance of 
the hair evolution has paused. The new petal has poured down the 
sides, over the ears, like a cascade. It builds out the head with a 
solid block at either side, like the wings of an Egyptian symbol. Its 
lower line cuts horizontally across the top of the ear. The line of its 
top is a fine bow, as if a supple rod across the head had been bent 
down into a powerful spring. 

KoRiusAi About 1776. 


Two girls under an umbrella. 

This matchless print gives one a sensation of unearthly beauty, like 
Chopin's music. Where were blues and greens of the same soft value, 
more exquisitely blended, and harmonized by a resolution of filmy 
orange pinks and feathery whites ? Here is the perfect type of the 
year's head, showing the gauziness of the expanded hair, through 
which its back members may be seen. And note, now, that the little 
rudimentary tail, still visible in No. 153, has here completely disap- 
peared. This feature, which has played such a conspicuous part in 
the head silhouette since the days of Genroku, we have traced to the 
very moment of extinction, probably late in 1776. 

KORIUSAI I^ate 1776 or early 1777. 

I^arge color print. 

A belle and two girl attendants. 

I<ent by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
. Here in another way Koriusai reaches his richest, his most royal com- 
bination of grace and splendor. 

There are three new things about this print. It is one of the earliest 
in a long series of portraits of noted Yoshiwara belles, which Koriusai 
now began to issue month by month, and continued until Kiyonaga 
snatched the work from his hand four years later. It is notable, too, 
for the use of its broad velvet black, a rare thing with Koriusai. This 
"black, too, is decorated in the most gorgeous way with the olive of a 



tree in leaf, and the coral fireworks of its blooms. The obi is heavily- 
brilliant enough for a queen. But, oh, the little feathery green bamboo 
on the blue underskirt ! and the little orange trellis work with its 
silver vine over the purple of the girls ! and the texture ! And the grace 
of the three simultaneously opening petticoats ! Like all great art, it 
is a conception which stands alone, and for which words are useless. 

155 A. KoRiuSAi About 1777^ 


Tall belle, and two girl attendants. 
Here Koriusai has successfully introduced three figures with his ribbon- 
pattern of a composition. It is another triumph now of soft-toned 
color. All the dresses have patterns of green pine trees over fawn 
grays ; the little ones, of the young shooting pine, the lady, of the ma- 
ture tree with a snow-crown; — of blessings or of sorrows ? The storks 
that shotdd whirr through its branches have gone to sleep, wrapped up 
in the patterns on the obi. The hair, which in No. 154 had for a 
moment been pushed out to an extreme breadth of almost square box- 
shapes, has now, without losing its breadth, been pressed down a 
little at the comers, causing it to resume its bow-shape of the previous 
year, but with less tension in the spring. It is of rare interest to- 
mark here, with full opportunity, the arrangement of the back hair. 

156. Koriusai I^ate 1777 or early 1778. 


Girl reading a letter. 
It was in this year, probably, that Koriusai became conscious of a 
serious rivalry with the rising Kiyonaga. The latter's work we shall 
not show till later, in a complete series ; but, when we reach it, we 
shaU look back, and compare its earlier efforts with these prints. 

Koriusai here adopts a heavier, though still harmonious style of 
coloring. This dark chromium green is a new color in the art. The 
efiect of a black sky above cut by the orange lantern, and parted firom 
the ground below by a purely decorative zigzag, is very fine. The 
hair at the sides is about to elongate its bow ; and here we first 
notice Koriusai' s later tendency to draw his faces obUquely to the Una 
of the hair. 

157. Koriusai About 1778. 


I/arge standing tea-house girl. 
Here, if we examine the strokes, we shall see evidences of consciously- 
imitating the more powerful and modulated sweeps of Kiyonaga's pen. 
The figure, too, is designed to rely entirely on its own dignity, eschew- 
ing all graces of embroidery or lace textures. It uses a fine low tone, 
enlivened with dull orange. The use of the perforated tea-tray for a 
bracelet is a charming touch. Here we see the typical head of Anyei 


7tli in the still more extreme spread, so to speak, of a perfectly bow- 
shaped wing. 

158. KoRiusAi About 1779, 


House girl, and seller of mushrooms. 
A stress of rivalry with the young giant, Kiyonaga, is now quite 
marked. There is very decided improvement in the strength of the 
drawing ; a splendid antiphony of action. Kiyonaga's breadth of 
tone and simplicity of pattern are also suggested. The use of a more 
sombre ochrish-red instead of sunny orange adds to the dignity. If 
not the most charming, this is, perhaps, Koriusai's strongest work. 
The bow of the hair becomes, in this year, flabby, and much less 

159. KoRiusAi About 1779. 

Large painting on a panel. 

Is it a matron of dancers, walking with a lantern and a bundle ? 

This rare specimen of painting is most important to explain to us the 
personal quality of Koriusai as draughtsman and as colorist. It is the 
largest work of his I have seen, and one of the most splendid. As 
Kiyonaga, during the next two years, rapidly forced him out of the 
sphere of print-designing, Koriusai more and more took up painting 
as a profession, which also he apparently dropped about 1782. 

160. Koriusai About 1780. 

Large color print. 

Belle and attendants. 
This is another of Koriusai's portrait series before mentioned. It is a 
fine print ; and has charm in the leaf of the orange fish upon the 
waterfall of the obi. But if we compare his fi-equent mannerisms in 
this sort of work with Kiyonaga's ever firesh creations, we shall 
understand why the former was finally outflanked and driven from 
the field. 

161. Koriusai About 1780. 


Lady and girl attendant. 
Koriusai soon finds there is but little use in trying to beat Kiyonaga 
on his own ground. The strides of the latter are so rapid and unex- 
pected that there is no keeping pace with him. What can he do but 
fall back, with less confidence, upon the resources of his own specific 
charm ? What he can do in these last days is worthy of him. In this 
piece we have still a new color harmony, an orange obi over a lilac 
dress, and under a claret outer robe. The dress of the girl passes from 
lilac into white crossed by bamboo sprays. The hair is now approach- 
ing another radical form. In this year the wings have become 


thinner, tlie tips raised, and the bow more flattened, returning to some- 
thing like the pointed shape of 1773 and 1774, but more spear-like. 
Mark now the rise of the back-knot over the top of the comb. 

162. KoRiusAi About 1781. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Large standing Yoshiwara girl. 

But in this year Koriusai dropped printing altogether, and took to 
painting. His work is sometimes of great splendor. Here, though 
the drawing is forcefully angular, the coloring is a little hard. It is 
important to mark the new form of hairdress we have been approach- 
ing. It has become very long and pointed, like two fine blades ; the 
necessarily thin hairs are evenly distributed as a net across the bent 
strip of bamboo that gives them firmness ; the knot at the back of the 
head is growing more prominent, having its two ends now thrown up- 
ward into a double point. We have now traced to its last stage, the 
evolution of the normal Kiyonaga hairdressing of Temmei, as much a 
typical banner-sign of his aesthetic imperialism as the Old Guards' 
eagles were of Napoleon's military. 

163. FujiNOBU About 1770. 


Boy at window. 

Before going on to describe the other three schools of the day, let us 
first include specimens of a few of Harunobu's pupils and contempo- 

Fujinobu was evidently a pupil ; and this print is distinguished by 
its use of yellow. 

164. KuNiNOBu About 1772. 


Boy and girl with lantern. 
Kuninobu was doubtless a pupil of Harunobu. 

165. Haru About 1774. 



Notable for its extremely rich color. 

166. Harushige. About 1775. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Delicate and refined in feeling. 

167. KoMAi YosHiNOBU About 1772. 

Small color print. 

Two actors in the ring of wrestlers. 
Yoshinobu, frequently working in the style of Harunobu, here takes 
his subject of actors from Shunsho. It is a perfect print, and ex- 
tremely beautiful in coloring. 


i68. ToRii KiYOTSUNE About 1771. 

Small color print. 

Actor riding on a cow. 

Kiyotsune was a pupil of Kiyomitsu, and thus a fellow student of 
Kiyonaga. I^ike all the Torii of this day, he was influenced by 

169. ISHIKAWA TOYONOBU. AboUt 1778. 

Small color print. 

Girls with gold-fish and turtle. 

This Toyonobu is our old patriarch of Horeiki, the leader of one branch 
of Masanobu's school after the latter' s death. For the last twelve 
years his work has become very rare. This shows markedly the influ- 
ence of Koriusai. It is interesting to have the old veteran turn up 
once more just at the moment of our beginning to study the work of 
his famous pupil, Toyoharu. 

170. ISHIKAWA TOYOMASA. AboUt 1771. 

Small color print. 
The dolls' festival. 

Toyomasa was probably the son of Toyonobu, natural or adopted. 

His work follows closely the contemporary phases of Harunobu' s, 

Shunsho's, Toyoharu's, and Shigemasa's. 

171. Utagawa Toyonobu. About 1773. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

N6 dance of the salt-girls. 

Lent by George W. Vanderbilt of New York. 
But the greatest pupils of the first Toyonobu were two brothers of the 
Utagawa family, a name destined to play a great part in the subse- 
quent history of Ukioye. Of these Utagawa Toyonobu was probably 
the elder and the greater genius. But he died very young, and his 
works have now become extremely scarce. 

This painting is one of the most beautiful of his remaining works, 
the claret quaUty of the reds being something unprecedented in 

Utagawa Toyonobu • About 1773. 


Small figures with architectural background. 

This is a most unusual specimen, careful and neat in its drawing and 

disposition of quiet masses. 

Utagawa Toyoharu About 1769. 

Large color print. 

Young girls practising music. 

We now come to the work of the younger Utagawa Toyoharu, a man 

who becomes the leader of one of the three remaining great schools, 




■which, through Meiwa and Anyei, run on parallel with the leading^ 
one of Harunobu-Koriusai. 

Toyoharu's genius was a delicate and sensitive one, which shrank 
from competition ; and so, after a few years, we find him giving up 
print designing for the more private art of painting. In this way he 
goes over and becomes the true successor of the school of Shunsui. 

Early prints by Toyoharu are very rare and very beautiful. His 
finest work is a set of four large prints illustrating the four accom- 
plishments. This is one of the series. In texture and sweetness of 
characterization it rivals Harunobu. 

The beautifully drawn profile head is a rarity, and shows the com- 
plete hair-dressing. 

174. Toyoharu About 1770. 


Boy flying kite. 
The unique beauty of this print is its grand opposition of solid 
orange and black. 

175. Toyoharu. About 1774. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

A supper party. 

liCnt by Kmest F. Fenollosa of Boston. 

This is one of the earliest of Toyoharu's paintings and the most deli- 
cate. In daintiness it is like the handling of the finest print. 

176. Toyoharu About 1779. 

Painting on a large panel. 

Young girl on New Year's day. 

A remarkably large and rich specimen from the master's brush. In 
wealth of line it almost suggests the black and white prints of Kai- 
getsudo. In this richness of pattern we can see what Shunsho tried 
to render in his actors' elaborate dresses at this date. 

176A. Toyoharu About 1788. 

Painting on a panel. 

Ladies and child looking at gold-fish. 
This large panel displays to still greater advantage Toyoharu's fine 
power as a painter. He is now in rivalry with Kiyonaga as a designer, 
though in a different field. In the care for perfect drawing, for com- 
bined strength and expressiveness of touch, for dignity of proportion, 
and for breadth of large impression, he is evidently pressing forward 
side by side with Kiyonaga on the upward path. 

177. Toyoharu About 1784. 

Painting on a screen of two panels. 

Tea-house opening upon a garden. 

I/Cnt by George W. Vanderbilt of New York. 

This is the most elaborate of Toyoharu's paintings I have ever seen. 
The figures of the many ladies are each beautiful enough for a single 
kakemono or print. The handling of the brush is exquisitely light. 
We have here, too, for the first time, the charm of an Ukioye painting 
of a real Japanese garden ; not the idealized and abstract Kano land- 
scape of Moronobu and Choshun, but a realistic representation, with 
new technique of every detail just as it existed in his day. 

178. Katsukawa Shunsho About 1769. 

Small color print. 

Actor, male figure in snow. 

lycnt by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
Going back for a moment to the beginning of the century, we may 
recall that a school of painters, headed by Choshun, preserved the 
traditions of pictorial art, untainted by the painters, down to 1765. 
Shunsui, son or pupil of Choshun, who' headed this movement at the 
middle of the century, changed his family name, about that time, to 
Katsukawa. When in 1765 Harunobu, by his new invention of full 
color printing, turned the stream of Shunsui' s female representations 
into a new channel ; and, especially, when Toyoharu, relinquishing 
the field of prints, came over as a painter to invade that which Shunsui 
previously ruled, the latter practically found his occupation gone. He 
had one young pupil, however, whose ambition wotdd not allow him 
to accept the fate of extinction ; but who now, in the Ught of Haru- 
nobu's discovery, looked about for some new field which he might 
make distinctively his own. This young man was Shunsho, and the 
field he found was that of the actor-printing which Torii Kiyomitsu, 
on account of his conservatism, was now practically obliged to drop. 
Thus there is a marvellous shifting of schools ; Toyonobu's school in 
the person of Toyoharu invading Shunsui'? ; and Shigenaga's in the 
person of Harunobu stealing its thunder ; and now, per contra, Shun- 
sho, the heir of Shunsui' s painting school, invading the camp of the 
latter's bitterest and most vulgar rival, Torii. 

But Shunsho cared naught for the stigma of vulgarity provided he 
could be successful ; and he saw in the theatre, and the costumes of 
actors, a chance to produce a great pictorial effect with cheap means, 
in a way that Kiyomitsu, weighted down by sixty years of Kiyonobu's 
traditions, could not conceive ; in a way, and with the resources of 
color printing analogous to those which Harunobu was now using in 
another field. His first work in this new line begins in the self-same 
year with Harunobu's, 1765, and continues parallel with his and with 
Koriusai's, in an unbroken stream through the periods Meiwa and 
Anyei, and even into the very heart of Kiyonaga's period, Temmei, 
in the seventeen eighties. In this great work, covering more than 


twenty years, Shunsho turned out thousands of original designs of 
actors, full of dramatic force, splendid and creative in color, and mir- 
roring the contemporary fashions of costume and hair-dressing year 
( by year as faithfully as Harunobu and Koriusai. He had many 

pupils, of whom the greatest were Shunko and his rival Buncho. In 
the list which follows we shall class his pupils' work with his accord- 
ing to their chronological order. 

The actor prints of Shunsho have not yet been estimated by con- 
noisseurs at their full aesthetic value. We shall have no time here to 
describe each piece, but can only say in general that each is a creative 
masterpiece, revealing new conceptions in color, and resources in deli- 
cacy of design and printing, not inferior to Harunobu's. 

In later life, when Kiyonaga, in his all-imperial sway, had driven 
Shunsho, as he had previously driven Koriusai, as he now drove 
everybody, from the field, Shunsho practically gave up print design- 
ing, and, like Toyoharu, devoted himself to painting. Some of his 
many works in this class are supremely beautiful. It was in his 
school, as we shall later see, that the great master of the future, 
Hokusai, received his first instructions as the pupil Shunro. 

179. Shunsho About 1770. 

Small color print. 

Actor, male part. 

Here we see the use of Harunobu's greens. 

180. Shunko About 1770. 

Small color print. 
Actor on a pine tree. 

181. Buncho About 1770. 

Small color print. 

Actors, boy and girl. 

Lent by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
Buncho, the rival of Shunsho in his earlier years, is more original 
than .the other pupils. He is one of those queer artists, like Shige- 
naga, whom one loves for their very queerness. But he is also a 
colorist of the first order, and in this design exhibits a grandeur 
of composition not inferior to Harunobu's. The scheme of tint is 
daring ; figures on soft grays against a background of intense green 
and orange. 

182. Buncho About 1771. 

Small color print. 

Young man and woman in rain. 

This reaches Buncho' s high-water mark in delicacy of sentiment, 
color, and texture. 


i83. Shunsho About 1771. 


Court lady and distant landscape. 
While Shunsho is noted chiefly for his actor prints, he also designed 
representations of every-day groups like Harunobu's. This is a per- 
fectly preserved specimen. 

184. BuNCHO About 1772. 

Small color print. 

Actor with lion mask. 

This is a beautiful harmony of orange, green, and soft grays. In the 
latter there is nothing faded, the Shunsho actor school aiming directly 
at soft tints. 

185. Shunsho About 1773. 

Small color print. 

Girl with a box. 
This is one of the most individual and most graceful of Shunsho's 
girlish figures, fully comparable to Harunobu's strong designing. 

186. Shxjnsho. . About 1774. 

Small color print. 

Tall, graceful girl with a fan, 

Shunsho is now, after Harunobu's death, running a race neck and 
neck with Koriusai. "We notice here the use of the latter' s orange ; 
but it is so diluted with white that it flashes upon us with the very 
play of sunlight. 

187. Shunsho About 1775. 

Very large kakemonoye. 

Portrait of a belle. 
This year and the next are the period of Shunsho's most graceful, 
even classic, designing in line and in pattern. It is the age of his 
great illustrated book, the most elaborate ever printed, the Seiro 
Bijin Awase. This unique print is the exact analogue of its style, 
and a perfect proof-impression. 

188. Shunsho About 1776. 

Small color print. 

Girl amid grasses. 
This is Shunsho's most graceful and classic print in the style just 
described. Every line of the dress, sleeve, and skirt, of the obi, of the 
feather-like pattern, and of the swaying grasses, sweeps into a single 
total line-impression of utmost purity. It exhibits Shunsho's finest 
type of head and hair-dressing. 


iSg. Shunko About 1776. 

Small color print. 

Girl with a tea-tray. 
This is Shunko' s analogue of the same style. It is notable for the 
use of orange, which seems to fall in thick drops, as of blood. 

190. Shunsho About 1777. 

Color print. 

Group of two actors, male and female. 

I,ent by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 
This print is one of Shunsho's finest in composition and in soft color- 
ing. As the red lead upon the design tarnishes, it but adds to the 
mystery of the effect. 

191. Shunsho About 1777. 

Small color print. 

Father and child. 
This is one of Shunsho's most charming productions. The colors are 
all light and airy, and the little figure more thoroughly of a Japan- 
ese child, than any which Ukioye has before shown. 

192. Shunsho About 1778. 

Small color print. 

Standing lady. 

Ivcnt by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
One of Shunsho's strongest pieces, the dark chocolate color standing 
out with fine notan against paler tints of the same. 

193. Shunko About 1778. 

Small color print. 

I,ady with rope. 
This may well be called " a symphony in grays." Black is used as 
their strongest note, and minute touches of orange bring out the tone. 
It is perfect in impression and color-preservation. 

194. Shunsho About 1779. 

Small color print. 

Woman playing a flute. 
This work is contemporary with Koriusai's latest, and with Kiyonaga's 
growing strength. It is the most dignified of all of Shunsho's styles. 
Unusually for him, he uses a garment of solid red. The black obi, and 
the purple head-kerchief suggest comparison of this with Masanobu's 
and Harunobu's strongest works before described. 

195. Shunko About 1779. 

Small color print. 

Girl with a basket on her head. 
This is a startling and strong creation, the intense black contrasting 
with the soft dove tones. 


196. Shunsho About 1780. 

Small color print. 
Actor, male figure. 

Notable by its contrast of black with pale rose. 

197- Shunsho About 1780. 

Small color print. 
Actor, male figure. 

Notable for its opposition of dark ochrishred against brilliant orange. 

198. Shunsho About 1781. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Young man and woman under an umbrella in snow. 

This in depth and quality of color shows the master's pictorial ana- 
logue to his prints. There is nothing more splendid in Ukioye paint- 
ing than this intensity of black and of red, nothing more minutely 
beautiful than the drawing of the female head. 

T99. Shunsho About 1781. 

Small color print. 
Actor, male part. 

This in intensity and purity of impression and preservation is perhaps 

the finest of all Shunsho' s prints. 

200. Shunsho About 1782. 

Small color-print. 

Actor, female part. 

Even at this late day Shunsho' s designs unite dignity and delicacy. 
This is beautiful in its soft blue grays. We do not speak of the hair- 
dressing, for this would somewhat anticipate what we have to say of 
Kiyonaga's forms, which are the most typical for dating. 

201. Shunsho About 1783. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Lady at toilet. 

I<ent by Ernest F. FenoUosa of Boston. 
This painting is of exceptional interest, first, for the unusual attitude ; 
second, for the perfect view it gives of the back hair ; third, for the 
reflection of the face in the mirror ; fourth, for the depth of the color- 
ing ; and fifth, for the beautiful pattern of white storks flying across 
a gown of cerulean blue, 

202. Shunyei About 1784. 

Small color print. 

Female figure, dancing. 

I^nt by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 
Shunyei, the best known of Shunsho's later pupils, did much during 
Temmei to preserve the school, strengthening the drawing, soften- 
ing and broadening the masses. 


203. Shunko About 1785. 

Small color print. 

Woman under a maple tree. 

Here in these exaggerated proportions we see almost the last form of 
the great Shunsho school of actor prints, which has held the field 
alone for twenty years, and which is now about to be absorbed in the 
Napoleonic conquests of Kiyonaga, who, not content with driving 
from the field all rivals in designing females, the line of his earlier 
strength, now insists, upon claiming for himself also his ancestral 
Torii prerogative of actor drawing, which Kiyomitsu had tamely 

204. KiTAO Shigemasa About 1765. 

Small color print. 

Young girl with chrysanthemums under a willow. 

We must now go back to our central date to trace, through the same 
periods of Meiwa, Anyei, and Temmei, the work of the fourth great 
master of 1770, and of his principal pupils. I^ike Toyoharu's and 
Shunsho' s, Shigemasa's work follows on parallel with the line of 
Harunobu's and Koriusai's, until, coming face to face with Eyonaga's, 
he becomes, not the latter' s rival exactly, neither his follower, but his 
friendly co-worker. I have chosen thus to speak of all these artists' 
works, as a whole, including that of Temmei, before analyzing the 
' qualities of Kiyonaga' s contemporary achievement, because the latter' s 

work is so central, so final, so determinative of subsequent movements, 
that it seemed best to reserve it for study in relation to these latter. 

Shigemasa's is rather a unique position among the great Ukioye 
masters. He was not anxious to produce much, or to compete with, 
others. His was a sort of aristocratic temper, calmly artistic, which 
delighted in perfection for its own sake, and never worked except in 
creative mood. While not arrogating to himself a marked originaUty, 
nor holding himself aloof from the influence of his contemporaries, he 
shows his own power in the way in which he utilizes all their sugges- 
tions, without ever losing his own personal feeling. Thus his work 
has a special look, dignified, carefully thought out, cool in color, 
choice in sentiment. Like Masanobu and Harunobu, he acquired 
Strength with years, until in his latest pictorial work he stands almost 
unrivalled for perfect beauty. His prints, which are extremely rare, 
are seldom signed after his earliest years ; but there is no mistaking 
their distinction. Whatever work came to his hand, whether it were 
painting, print designing, or book illustration, he executed cheerfully 
and with even mastery. In the last of these three fields, book illus- 
tration, he frequently co-operated with Shunsho ; and some of the 
finest pages in the Seiro Bijin Awase are from his pen. 

In this rare print we see how original his work could be in the very 
first year of Harunobu's new manner. Here is the soft gray back- 


ground roughly executed, but a sweetness of feeling and a fine touch 
in details worthy of Shigenaga's successor. 

205. Shigemasa About 1769. 

Small color print. 

At the archery gallery. 

Here is a new scale of color in soft yellow green and pale purple. 

206. Shigemasa About 1773. 


Girl with a clock. 

Kakemonoye by Shigemasa are seldom found. This, though faded is a 
unique early specimen. 

207. Shigemasa About 1774. 

Small color print. 

Street group at a door. 

This work, entirely unlike that of any contemporary, is in drawing 
just like the illustrated books in outline of which Shigemasa produced 
so many perfect examples, worthily continuing the series begun by 

208. Shigemasa About 1775. 

lyarge color print. 

Two standing girls. 
Shigemasa now begins a series of works which specially illustrate his 
distinguishing qualities. While Koriusai is producing portraits of 
noted Yoshiwara belles, Shigemasa is executing a parallel representa- 
tion of the more refined charms of the professional singing girls, or 
Geisha. Here there is marked superiority to the work of both 
Koriusai and of Shunsho in simplicity of design, and in softness of 

209. Shigemasa About 1776. 

Small color print. 

Two dancing girls. 

lyCnt by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 

In this piece we see exactly the style of Shigemasa as shown in the 

Seiro Bijin Awase; only, while there the fine curves of the drapery 

for the most part lie in repose, they here sweep into that confusion of 

serpentine motion of which this artist is the greatest delineator. 

210. Shigemasa About 1776. 

Large color print. 

Girl followed by a servant with her Koto box. 

I^nt by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
There is more real presence in these splendid figures than in the work 
of any contemporary, Kiyonaga not excepted. Shigemasa proves 
himself the greatest draughtsman of Anyei. His color here is as 
powerful through its notan as through its brilliancy of hue. 


211. Shigemasa About 1776. 

lyarge color print. 

Two standing giris. 

The composition and the dignified drawing of Shigemasa grows still 
finer. The strong use of black is characteristic of the coming years ; 
but the soft tints of the dresses are Shigemasa's own. 

212. Shigemasa About 1776. 

I^arge color print. 

Two ladies and servant bearing box. 
Here is a still more striking composition of three figures, filling the 
whole space. There is nothing like it in Koriusai. Kiyonaga at this day, 
with all the savage dash of his youthful penmanship, must have bowed 
to Shigemasa as the one man from whom he could learn great things. 
We may believe that much of his later refinement was determined by 
Shigemasa's influence. The Une idea of this piece, and the clear 
large notan spotting, recall again to us the final triumphs of Masanobu 
and of Harunobu. In color, too, there sounds a new chord, as great 
as it is calm. The tints are got by hatching one color in lines over an- 
other. How original and splendid the contrast against the black of 
the strong yellow cooled by reds ! Nothing so approaching the tex- 
ture of cloth, as does the dove-colored obi, has, before or after, been 
achieved in Ukioye printing. This piece, with all its wealth, is abso- 
lutely normal, clear and balanced in all its parts, and in every 

213. Shigemasa About 1777. 

Small color print. 

N6 dancer with fox mask. 

I think this is the most intense representation of motion in the whole 
history of Ukioye, not excepting the strongest work of Hokusai. The 
line idea in the blacks is almost worthy of an ancient Chinese 
painter of Buddhist altar pieces, even of Ririomin himself. If the con- 
trast of black and white seems startling, it only adds to the strength 
of the impression of motion. 

214. Shigemasa About 1778. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Two standing Geisha. 

It is valuable to study here the deUberate power and finish of Shige- 
masa's workmanship. There have been, perhaps, more brilliant 
geniuses, but none so completely the master of his own resources. 
In the painting of cloth textures he stands without a rival. Notice 
the solid embroidery of the chrysanthemum pattern ; also the glow of 
the red of the undergarment through the gauzy black of the outer. 
There is a most valuable signature. 


215. Shigemasa About 1781. 


Two lovers and showman with a monkey. 

Here, indeed, Shigemasa stands side by side with Ziyonaga in the full 
glory of the latter' s power. There is no other kakemonoye by any 
artist as richly crowded in perfect composition. There is no print by 
any master in which the hands and drapery textures are as carefully 
and deliberately drawn. There is no work of Kiyonaga's in which 
the power of the Japanese pen to modulate its strokes in thickening 
and thinning is more perfectly shown. Kiyonaga may have more dash 
and superhuman fire ; but this is as normal and deliberate in its com- 
plexities as the motions of the solar system. It is a first proof-print 
in perfect preservation. 

216. Shigemasa About 1786. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Figures on a highway, with background of rice-fields. 

I<ent by Ernest F. FenoUosa of Boston. 
Who could have believed that there could be another Kiyonaga besides 
Kiyonaga? One, too, who cotdd eliminate all professional mannerism, 
and translate his technical beauties into the individual terms of, so to 
speak, a perfect amateurish conception ? The fatal antimony of all 
art lies in the gap between a child's absoluteness of impression and 
the sophistications which come with mastery over means of expression. 
Here Shigemasa, for this once, has, almost uniquely, bridged the 
abyss. The simple, naive touches upon the landscape details, utterly 
innocent of manner, and seeming by themselves almost childishly 
crude, reveal their transcendent mastery in an absolute reahzation of 
Nature's charms. No landscape in all Ukioye so fills one who has 
travelled in the land of the gods with homesick reminiscence. 

The vision of these travellers, too, is a transfiguration of Kiyonaga. 
They have his beauty, but disembodied. Where he is eloquent, they 
babble of sweet dreams. They are creatures to love. So in the unearthly 
delicacy of color the wings of Shigemasa' s genius retain their poise 
even at these rarefied altitudes. No symphony in pinks and blues ever 
before so passed out of human scale as to make us doubt whether they 
are visible to the eye, or audible to the ear. If the painting is deficient 
in notan, it is because notan is a weight unknown in Heaven. 

217. KiTAO Masanobu About 1778. 

Small color print. 

I^ady and servants. 

Of Shigemasa' s many pupils there are several who merit special 
notice. Shunman belongs so completely to the Kiyonaga movement 
that we shall defer his consideration. But Masayoshi and Masanobu 
are strong original creators in the master's manner. It is worth while 
to compare this print with those of Kiyonaga at the same date. 


2i8. K. Masanobu About 1782. 

I^arge color print from his finest illustrated book. 
A group of Yoshawara belles. 

li&it by Howard Mansfield of New York. 
In this book Masanobu aimed at a complexity of design never tried 
before. There are color passages in it of great beauty. 

219. K. Masanobu About 1782. 

Painting on a panel. 

A richly dressed belle. 

It is of extreme interest to compare this with the preceding. It is 
the only painting by Masanobu I have ever seen ; and it illustrates 
this phase of his work in which by sheer complexity he was trying to 
rival, if not eclipse, the reputation of Kiyonaga. 

220. K. Masanobu About 1783. 


Two figures under a cherry tree. 

I^nt by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
Here Masanobu more thoroughly succeeds in reducing his complexity 
to harmony. In warmth of splendid color, if not in power of drawing, 
he has now indeed become Kiyonaga' s rival. The composition is of 
the finest, and the cherry blossoms specially beautiful. 

221. K. Masanobu About 1784. 

I^arge color print. 

A group of girls. 
Here, both in the drawing and the composition, we mark a nearer 
approach to the manner of Kiyonaga, by entering into whose atmos- 
phere all the geniuses of the day seem to become exalted. 

222. KiTAO Masayoshi About 1780. 

Large color print. 

Group of storks about a pine tree. 

Masayoshi is one of those artists who always does things a little differ- 
ent from anybody else. He dehghts in queer landscape efiects. This 
subject is unique in Ukioye, though occurring in contemporary Kano 
painting. It is here magnificently handled in terms of color printing. 

223. K. Masayoshi About 1790. 

Small color print. 

Girls watering chrysanthemum blooms. 
This odd subject is most characteristic of Japan, her gardeners delight- 
ing in raising the largest number of blooms from a single root. It is 
interesting to compare this with the Western impressionists' treatment 
of similar subjects. 


224. TORII KlYONAGA About 1 774. 

Small color print. 

Group of girls at a temple. 
We must now consider the work of a man who, all things considered, 
is to be regarded as the central figure of Ukioye. All up to his central 
date is a rising curve ; all afterward the gradual descent of decay. 

Already we have said so much incidentally about Torii Kiyonaga, 
that we have anticipated many of his qualities. "We showed one of his 
boyish works, as a primitive, before Harunobu's discovery. In the 
eclipse of his teacher, Kiyomitsu, for a time the young man is lost. 
Not originally of Torii blood, but an adopted son, Kiyonaga' s inborn 
genius doubtless benefited by the breaking down of old traditions in 
the Torii school of actor-designing. Kiyonaga found himself pitted 
against such men as Harunobu, Shunsho, and Shigemasa, men who 
could stimulate his incipient powers. 

To Shigemasa' s influence especially do we owe this rare and origi- 
nal early print. No trace of Kiyomitsu appears. But there is a deli- 
cate pose of the figure, and a clear handling of the notan, which must 
have brought him at once into notice. The color too is markedly 
original, being saturated with a warm tone of yellow. 

225. Kiyonaga About 1777. 


Reading the love-letter. 
This cannot be called a daring composition. In head and face it vacil- 
lates between the influence of Shigemasa and Koriusai. The drapery 
of the standing figure, too, has the formal sweep of the latter. But in 
the rough touches upon the tree trunk we mark a vigor which has not 
been seen since the days of Moronobu. 

226. Kiyonaga About 1777. 

Small color print. 

Women washing clothes. 

It is in scenes like these that Kiyonaga first demonstrates his powerful 
originality. We see it in the firm but plastic stroke, in the charm of 
the composition which relies more upon realistic impression than upon 
personal interest in the figures. He is a masculine Harunobu. Here 
the details of landscape, fence, and wild grass are set unafiectedly with 
the force of real presence. Kiyonaga already rejects the innovation 
of Harunobu in filling up his background with a tint. With his pow- 
erful drawing and massing the figures detach and come forward of 
themselves ; and the flat white of the paper palpitates with the per- 
spective of atmosphere. 

227. Kiyonaga About 1778. 

Small color print. 

Two girls under a willow tree. Lent by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
This is the sort of work which made Koriusai tremble in his stockings. 


Kiyonaga is becoming conscious of a new power in drawing. Mark 
tlie advance upon the last number. Now the pen strokes are freer, 
not so brutally forceful. The composition is perfect. The figures 
stand out like nature against the creamy sky. The tone of the faces 
differentiates of itself In notan, also, there is organization. I^astly 
in color new beauties appear. The gauziness of the purple drapery, 
revealing the tint of flesh and red petticoat, is unequalled even by 
Shigemasa, in easy mastery. This is perhaps the most beautiful of 
his early prints. 

228. KlYONAGA About 1779, 

Small color print. 

Woman alighting from a kago. 

Kiyonaga has lavishly used his new found power of drawing in a rick 
and dif&cult composition. One seems to feel the lines fairly fly from 
his brush, like splinters fronl a woodman's stroke. Action is intense, 
textures aerial, as if precipitated upon ivory. Cut out and examine 
the bust and head of the man. Has any artist of the world ever 
equalled the drawing of the kerchief upon his head ? 

229. ZiYONAGA About 1779. 


Three actors in the style of Shunsho. 

Kiyonaga now tries his powers in a new field, but one in which he 
may well claim ancestral rights. Surely Shunsho has no chance 
against such spontaneous elegance of line. He is matched in his own 
color scheme and finest patterning. He could never have conceived 
such breadth of simple blacks as in these hats and ohi. It has been 
said that Japanese art never introduces symmetry. It is an extreme 
rarity to find a complete triptych among the actor prints. The rarity 
is more than doubled when the work is Kiyonaga' s. 

230. Kiyonaga About 1780. 


Man reading a letter. 
This composition is like one that precedes; but the tone is finer. 
Kiyonaga imitates the obliqueness of Koriusai's late heads, but draws 
the construction of the pointed wings more carefully. 

231. Kiyonaga About 1780. 


Two girls tmder a cherry-tree. 
This is a bold creation of Kiyonaga' s, especially in the contrast of an 
orange obi with the soft blue of a head-veil which reminds us of 
Moronobu's design. Similar colors are repeated in the dandelion pat- 
tern at the bottom of the gray skirt. Here is seen Kij'onaga's typical 
female head of the year with its oblique nose and square jaw. 


232. KlYONAGA About 1 78 1. 

Painting on a panel. 

Three girls on a breezy day by the river. 

lycnt by George "W. Vanderbilt of New York. 
The power here manifested in Kiyonaga's drawing and atmospheric 
setting is quite beyond words to describe. Every inch of space is 
alive with motion. It is interesting to see the great, solid, splintery 
strokes of Kiyonaga's brush, which seem to have been executed with 
lightning-like rapidity. Is there any painting of the modern French 
school that can rival this for vitality and open-air setting ? 

233. KlYONAGA. About 1782, 


Portrait of a lady with an umbrella. 
This is the perfection of Kiyonaga's work in prints up to this date. 
He has here deliberately sacrificed the fireworks of his drawing for 
delicate and elegant line, like Shigemasa's. It is the point of evolu- 
tion of the later well-known Kiyonaga manner and type of head. 
Here, for a third time, we strike a perfect and restrained beauty of pro- 
portion which we may call classic. The diaphanous blue of the dress 
reveals wonderfully the white of the undergarment with its red lining. 

234. KlYONAGA. About 1783. 


Portrait of a lady with tunbrella. 
Just as in the masterpieces of Greek art we trace a conscious efiFort to 
perfect the proportion of each part, if only by a hair's breadth, so in 
this print, compared with the preceding, we can watch the very stress 
of Kiyonaga's soul in its aim for purity and delicacy. It is as if he 
took the drawing for his last year's print, and said to himself, " Now, 
how can I make it more beautiful, point for point ? ' ' What we first 
notice is a change in the head, a rounding up of the jaw and chin, a 
shortening of the nose, a less elongated eye. In the gauzy costume 
itself we mark a new thing, the change of color as it folds upon itself, 
varying the sheen. 

235. KlYONAGA. About 1783. 

I^arge color print. 

Three girls with two attendants. 
This shows a new harmony of reds mixed with white, and blacks 
mixed with yellow. Kiyonaga seldom uses such variegated patterns. 
The print is a proof and in perfect preservation. 

236. Kiyonaga About 1784. 

Small color print. 

Girls fishing. 
Here now begins the personal charm in Kiyonaga's drawing of girls, 
as marked as Harunobu's. The simplicity of the coloring shows the 


artist's self-reliance. His faces have now become lovable for their 
own sweetness. What could be more perfect than the drawing of 
the leg ? 

237. KiYONAGA. About 1784. 

I^arge color print. 

Three ladies. 

I^nt by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 
This is a specimen in Ziyonaga's series of women's portraits which he 
continued from Koriusai's. This print is most delicate in line and 
texture, and charming in the even fading of its color. 

238. ZiYONAGA. About 1784. 

Large color print. 

Women at toilet. 

Kiyonaga has become more than strong or delicate in drawing. He 
makes a new idyllic use of his line ideas. Never have patterns been 
so drawn to conform to clinging folds. 

239. Kiyonaga. About 1785. 

I^arge color print. 

Three women at toilet. 

Here is exhibited Kiyonaga' s finest treatment of his tallest propor- 
tions. It surpasses all previous Ukioye in the drawing of the nude, 
and in the suggestion of the nude under the clinging garments. 

240. Kiyonaga. About 17S5. 

lyarge color print. 

Three women at night with lantern. 

I^ent by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 
All Kiyonaga' s finest qualities are now combined with a matchless 
brilliancy of color. He uses primary tints with as much ease and 
softness as if they were grays. He creates with the whole spectrum 
as readily as did Masanobu in green and rose. 

241. Kiyonaga. About 1785. 

Large color print. 

Three girls in the iris garden. 

Lent by George W. Vanderbilt of New York. 
It is but taking a step more for Kiyonaga to throw in a complete land- 
scape background. In this he realizes the fact that sunshine is indi- 
cated more by color than by light, in making the flat tone of his grass 
a firank yellow. The drawing of the iris is worthy of Korin ; the 
composition of the whole perfect ; and the coloring of unexampled 
This may perhaps be called the highest point reached by Kiyonaga. 


242. KlYONAGA About 1785. 

I*arge color print. 

Same as preceding number. 

Another experiment is made by using green on the grass. The colors 

are beautiful even in their faded condition. 

243. KlYONAGA About 1785. 


Very tall standing girl. 

In this unique figure, throwing aside almost all graces of form, of pat- 
tern, or of color, Kiyonaga, in his very simplicity, realizes some meas- 
ure of Harunobu's last sublimity. The sweetness of rendering the 
little green hanging fern ball is a last touch of refined feeling, which 
is rare with Kiyonaga. 

244. Kiyonaga About 1786. 

lyarge color print. 

Girls under weeping cherry-tree. 
In this year Kiyonaga reaches, possibly, greater power, but with a 
slight suspicion of mannerism. There is a splendid total sweep in the 
drapery of the three figures ; and there is here shown a new tendency 
in the use of solid black, often in combination with green. 

245. Kiyonaga About 1786. 

I/arge color print. 

Four girls with pink caps at a temple gate. 

Perhaps nothing short of a touch of Kiyonaga's mannerism would 
have quite rendered so free and wavy this most superb of his composi- 
tions, glowing, as it also does, with his finest color passages of black 
to bright green. 

246. Kiyonaga About 1786. 

Small color print. 

Three figures in grays. 
This shows to what refinement Kiyonaga's grandest style can be re- 
duced when photographed down, as it were, to minuteness of scale. 
Composition and notan are perfect. 

247. Kiyonaga About 1786. 

Ivarge color print. 

Three figures in snow. I<ent by Howard Mansfield of New York. 

On this central male figure we find Kiyonaga's most powerful use of 
black, contrasted with a red which he produces by hatching rose over 

248. Kiyonaga About 1786. 


Girls disembarking from a river boat. 
This is one of Kiyonaga's noblest out-door compositions, the black and 
rose prow of the boat rising to the point of grandeur. 


249- KiYONAGA About 1787. 

Large color print. 
Three girls on a balcony. 

lycnt by Howard Mansfield of New York. 
If the gray at the left is meant for a distant sea, rising to a horizon 
line, then is it wonderfully broad in its suggestion. 

250. Ejyonaga About 1787. 


Girls on a balcony overlooking the river. 
A beautiful specimen of Kiyonaga's perfected manner. We notice 
that the faces are becoming longer, and the hair softened and more 
blunt at the sides, as if the spring within had become disused. 

251. KiYONAGA About 1787. 


Girl in black hood in the wind. 
A fine piece in drawing and printing, suggesting the movement for 
which Kiyonaga earlier was famous, but now more willowy and yield- 
ing in its proportions. 

252. KiYONAGA About 1788. 

lyarge color print. 

Girls at a temple gate. 

Lent by George W. Vanderbilt of New York. 
One of Kiyonaga's most beautiful designs of the later type, opposing 
figures in warm tones against the cool of granite and a shaded bank. 

253. KiYONAGA About 1788. 


Group of girls washing cloth in a garden. 
The warm, sunny yellow of this whole beautiful garden is finely con- 
trasted with the angular blacks, and with the cool spots which the 
quietly robed figures cut against it. The whole design has the per- 
fection of out-door feeling. 

254. KiYONAGA About 1788. 


Country girl on a red horse. 
What I have called Kiyonaga's growing mannerism is here strongly 
shown. There is a tendency to fall into abstract curvature, for its own 
sake. We shall see this style becoming specially characteristic of 
Yeishi at; a corresponding date. 

255. KiYONAGA About 1789. 

Large ink-proof print. 

Figures on the strand before Enoshima. Yet what charm there can lie 
even in this later system of loose curves is here shown in a rare proof 
from the first ink block cut from one of Kiyonaga's richest designs. 


The practice was to cut this ink block first, upon which, as we can 
here see, the signature, when wanted, always appeared. From this 
first block trial proofs were struck, showing an angel cut in the lower 
right-hand comer, and a vertical line at the upper. From such proofs 
laid upon new wood the color blocks, one for each color, were now so 
cut that, in printing, the sheets could be laid for registry against these 
guiding projections. Such original ink proofs of those early days are 
extremely rare, and highly valued by collectors. Here the drawing 
of the nude parts of the small boy should be compared with Hokusai's ; 
and the way of rendering the pine trees on the distant hill is positively 

256. KiYONAGA About 1789. 


Tall lady watching a flight of birds. 

Here the loose curvature weakens the figure as compared with Kiyo- 
naga's earlier manner ; yet a certain nigligi charm results firom it. 

257. KiYONAGA About 1789. 

Ivarge color print. 

Actors in foreground with chorus behind. 

lycnt by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
It might seem that Riyonaga was on the high road to degeneration, did 
we not now observe his new powerful treatment of actor compositions. 

We have seen that, firom time to time, he had entered the adjoining 
field pre-empted by Shunsho. 

But now, in the second half of his decade, he finds it no difficult task 
to drive out the latter' s demoralized pupils, and take possession himself. 
For a few years, until he chooses to retire, and hands the work over to 
Toyokuni, he presents us with the most splendid series of actor-print 
designs in the whole course of Ukioye. 

Of such this is the finest I have ever seen. The color, as such, is 
probably the most grand in its brilliancy of all Kiyonaga's work. 
This is due primarily to the masses of velvet, black cut by warm reds 
and purples in the foreground group, which as a whole is contrasted 
with the quieter blues and greens of the chorus. But the unique fea- 
ture of this perfect print is the darkening of the background behind the 
chorus to a shade of black less intense than that of the actors. 
Against this night sky, or darkened space of the theatre, the leaves of 
a scenic willow cut, silhouetted in green light. The total eflfect is as 
strong and as strange as that of the last great hand-colored work by 
Okumura Masanobu. 

25S. KiYONAGA About 1789. 

I,arge color print. 

Three actors playing checkers with fallen plum blossoms. 
This superb piece, though lacking the weird effect of the dark back- 


ground, is, perhaps, more splendid in drawing and grouping, and more 
elegantly rich in the softness of its printed textures. The drawing of 
the plum branches has the vigor of the great Okio, the contemporary 
] master of the Shijo school in Kioto. It is only because Okio in Kioto, 

and Kiyonaga in Yedo, attained to such height of design, that we 
can speak of the end of the last century as a culminating period in the 
history of Japanese art. 

259. Kiyonaga About 1789. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Young girl in pink under a willow tree. 

I<ent by Ernest F. FenoUosa of Boston. 
It is a pleasure thus to see the actual execution of Kiyonaga in his 
last mood, even as we have already seen him in his earliest, that of 
the river scene. This pink is a color unknown before in art. The 
rapid modulations of the master's peculiar brush -stroke leave one fairly 

260. Kiyonaga About 1790. 

lyarge color print. 

Group of girls in holiday dress in Yoshiwara at New Year's. 
Here, at the very last, Kiyonaga gives us one of his most beautiful 
crowded compositions. It is not strong in notan, or peculiar in color ; 
but carefully drawn and delicate in sentiment. 
It is a proof impression. 

261. Kiyonaga About 1790. 

I^arge color print. 

Archery practice of noblemen. 
This, the finest of the series to which the last number belongs, is as 
refined as, but far more vigorous than, any contemporary Tosa drawing 
of such an aristocratic subject. It shows what Kiyonaga might have 
done had he entered other fields of painting. Hokusai never comes so 
near to the pure Samurai type as in the oval-faced kneeling gentleman. 
I,et this be our farewell to Eliyonaga, that we recognize his own recog- 
nition of the fact that his genius had become too noble, and his t5rpes 
of beauty too high, to be longer appreciated by a populace essentially 
vulgar, and desirous of change. Thus is revealed the dilemma, and, 
in a sense, the contradiction latent in Ukioye. From this time on- 
ward the lines of change, carried out by other hands, however brilliant 
and realistic, lead slowly but surely into downward paths. 

262. Shuncho About 1782. 

Small color print. 

Man carrying girl in winter. 

But, as in all periods of degeneration, the beginning of the change was 
invisible to contemporaries. Rather did they conceive that they were 
rushing along a highway toward firesh glories. If our conjecture be 


correct, Kiyonaga alone knew tliat an end had come. His work was 
not cut short by death, like Masanobu's and Harunobu's ; neither did 
he abandon prints in despair, and turn to painting, like Koriusai and 
Shunsho. But like a king he abdicated when he felt that his useful- 
ness was over ; withdrew from the whole realm of Ukioye, except 
that, as the head of the Torii house, he allowed his name to be used 
upon the yearly illustrated advertisements of the actors' guild ; and 
lived in retirement without production for something like twenty-four 

During Ziyonaga's reign, from 1780 to 1790, every artist of note had 
felt his influence and consciously or unconsciously conformed to his 
tj'pe. As for pupils in all rival schools, they practically went over to him 
in a body. It is not necessary to suppose that they all became his per- 
sonal disciples. Enough to see clearly that they were satellites revolv- 
ing about him as the central planet. Of these the closest to the master 
was Shuncho. At first a pupil of the Shunsho actor school under the 
name Katsukawa, not only was he one of the earliest to turn his face 
to the rising sun, but he became rapidly the most adequate reflector 
of its light. In short he is the alter-ego of Kiyonaga, as was Kiyomasu 
of Kiyonobu. It is difficult to distinguish unsigned works of the two 
men ; but it can be said that Shuncho's work tends to be just a little 
more effeminate in its beauties than Kiyonaga's. Of the latter' s many 
followers we naturally consider his work first. 

This print illustrates his style at the moment of transition. We 
feel the influence of a certain angularity of Shunsho derivation, and 
of a conscious effort, not entirely successful, to be like Kiyonaga. 

263. Shuncho About 1783. 


Young girl with umbrella and fan. 

But here the change is fully accomplished, as we can see by com- 
parison with Kiyonaga's contemporary treatment of the same subject. 

264. Shuncho About 1796. 

I<arge color print. 

Party in the country, rice fields in the distance. 

Shuncho's work is most happy in its sunny, out-of-door effects. His 
innocent groups, wandering like sweet children through fields, think- 
ing poems to spring blooms, or culhng wild-flowers by secluded pools, 
fully illustrate those traits in our charming islanders which I^afcadio 
Heam so well describes. 

265. Shuncho About 1797- 

Large color print. 

Girls about to embark. 

I^ent by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 

In this piece our artist comes very near to the strength and wealth of 


Kiyonaga. The soft green in the skirt is an unexpected note ; the 
treatment of trees on the distant shore as if they were the model for 
all modem French landscape painters. 

266. Shuncho About 1797. 

I,arge color print. 

Three girls on wharf. 
The indications of dates follow completely the clew to Kiyonaga's, 
previously given. 

267. Shuncho About 1788. 

I<arge color print. 

Three girls in a temple garden. 

lyent by Howard Mansfield of New York. 
The perfect freshness of the surface and the colors is notable. 

268. Shuncho About 1788. 


Bevy of girls in a large garden. 
This is typical of Shuncho' s delight in seeing crowds of happy, girlish 
faces, against the broad sunny yellows of grass-grown slopes. 

269. Shuncho About 1789. 


Two girls, distant shore. 

Lent by George W. Vanderbilt of New York. 
Still again one looks to the backgrovmd as an organic part of the 

270. Shuncho About 1789. 


Tall standing girl with fan. 
Though low in tone, this tall willowy figure is beautiftd in color. 

271. Shuncho About 1790. 


Girls with a chrysanthemum basket. 

272. Shuncho About 1790. 


Girls disembarking fi-om river boat. 
This is indeed one of the finest of all Shuncho 's triptychs. The tones 
of the crowded figures are clearly and purely disposed ; and he has 
known, like his master, how to use the black prow of a boat as a strong 
feature. What could be more innocent than these girlish faces ? How, 
with flat tints, can they be made so to bathe in open atmosphere ? At 
this very moment of Kiyonaga's last work, Shuncho also achieves one 
of the greatest technical triumphs in Ukioye. 


273- Shuncho About 1791. 

Ivarge color print. 

Girls at home. 
This, as most of his single sheets, is probably one of a triptych. He 
and his contemporaries were such natural designers, that they made 
their composition perfect, whether the purchaser desired to mount it 
as a whole, or to treat each portion as a separate picture. 

274. Shuncho About 1792. 

Large color print. 

Belle and four attendants. 

But a subject like this was probably designed for a single sheet. 

275. Setonzan About 1776. 

Small color print. 

Boys at play. 
Another of Kiyonaga's strongest followers is Katsugawa Shunzan, who, 
like Shuncho, had been a late pupil of Shunsho in the school of actor 
designing. In this early piece, however, we see him trying his hand 
at an original design which would have done credit to Koriusai or 

276. Shtjnzan About 1779. 

Small color print. 

Actor with wheels. 

Here is a rare, signed example of one of Shunzan' s actors in the 
Shunsho style. 

277. Shunzan About 1783. 

Small color print. 

Orchestra and dance. 
A rare composition for any school. Its elements are derived from 
Shunsho tradition ; but there is a desire to strengthen the complicated 
lines, enliven the color, and sweeten the faces, which betokens the 
stress of a move toward Kiyonaga which was not completed till about 

278. Shtjnzan About 1793. 


At the gate of a large temple. 

Here is a perfect specimen of Shunzan's ripe, Kiyonaga style, reveal- 
ing a power of large composition and full designing which justifies his 
rank as one of the Emperor Kiyonaga's handful of marshals. 

Shtjnman About 1788. 

Small color print. 

Boy and two girls with fish. 

But not only were the petty princes of the Katsukawa school drawn 
into alliance with the new power, but its seductions led to violation of 



friendly territory like that of Shigemasa. Of the latter' s pupils, Ma- 
sanobu and Masayoshi held aloof; but the genius of a third Kitao 
pupil, Shunman, was too restlessly on the search for new modes of 
expression. Shunman, like Shigenaga and Buncho, is one of those 
strange personalities who infuse their art with a nameless individual 
charm. Everything he does has a strange touch. The Kiyonaga face 
becomes distorted with a sort of divine frenzy ; trees grope about with 
their branch tips like sentient beings ; flowers seem to exhale unknown 
perfumes, and the waters of his streams writhe and glide with a sort 
of reptilian fascination. 

But in this small design we see the most normal manifestation of 
Shunman' s quahties. It is Hke a splendid vital Kiyonaga in its 
drawing, in its coloring, in its landscape details, and in its perfect 
tone. I^ike aU great work, it comes before us as a new idea, but so 
natural in its self-justification, we have a vague feeling that we must 
have always known it. Is there anything in all Hokusai at once as 
natural and unmannered as the action of the man and the drawing of 
the fish ? 

280. Shunman About 1792. 

I,arge color print. 


281. Shunman About 1792. 


Groups of girls in the country. 

I<ent by George W. Vanderbilt of New York. 
But Shunman started an entirely original style in the attempt to treat 
full out-door groups in tones of pure gray. In this he was markedly 
successful, enlivening his neutral gradations with sparkling jewels of 
red or yellow or green upon tiny leaf or airy blossom. In this most 
perfect example of such work, Shunman has risen for a moment to 
a nobility of face, and a grace in his powerful curves, which make 
the work hold rank among the greatest masterpieces. 

282. Shunman About 1793. 

Set of two prints. 

Group on a temple portico. 
But here we notice markedly the oddities amid which occasionally 
Shunman loves to disport himself. 

283. Shunman About 1794. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Two girls in moonlight. 

It is interesting to compare with his prints the light, almost careless 
touch of the master in his pictorial moods. The tallness of his figures 
akeady indicates a new shifting of fashionable proportions, which, 


after Kiyonaga's abdication, rushes on through the period Kuansei 
toward an almost feverish extravagance. 

284. Ybishi About 1786. 

lyarge color print. 

Three girls and rice fields. 
Kiyonaga is the lord of Temmei. At the opening of Kuansei he with- 
draws. But his most creative successors, at first rooting their work 
in the soil of his tradition, soon engraft upon it features which are dis- 
tinctive of the new life and taste and art of this second new period. 
Who, then, shall be the lord of Kuansei ? Shuncho is too like Kiyo- 
naga. Neither Shunzan or Shunman have the strength of new vision. 
The fact is that no one man of all the young aspirants was great 
enough alone to wear Kiyonaga's mantle ; but, like Alexander's 
empire, the latter' s heritage had to be divided into separate, if not 
rival kingdoms. Speaking roughly, then, the satraps of Kuansei are 
three, Yeishi, Utamaro, and Toyokuni. 

The first of these, Yeishi, was not even an importation from any 
rival Ukioye branch, but no less a conquest than a scion of the aristo- 
cratic Kano academy, stolen out from under the very Shogun's sacred 
nose. He had been a pupil of the Yedo court painter Kano Yeisen, 
firom whom he took the first character of his name ; but this youth 
doubtless shocked all of his firiends in tiring of the solemn old Chinese 
poets who had been gliding about in impossible landscapes since 
Tanyu first labelled them, and of the semi-serious, long-headed old 
gods who gave knowing winks to their turtles and storks, and in run- 
ning off to such abominable haunts of the cow-headed Buddhist Satan 
as Danj ire's theatre-pit, firagrant with the odors of sak^ and raw fish, 
or the lantern-hung balconies whence samisens tinkled a cheerful 
accompaniment to the laughter of merry damsels on the river-boats. 
He evidently soon became naturalized in his new quarters ; for we find 
him surpassing even Kiyonaga in the keenness of his characterizations. 
The latter had, as it were, floated over this garden-bed of kaleido- 
scopic dissipations with something of the dignity of a great Ho& ; but 
Yeishi walked about among the blossoms as intimately as a heron. 
With no idealizations to trouble him, he put down what he saw as 
frankly as a young reporter let in for the first time behind the scenes. 
But in this early print we still see something of the more restrained 
sentiment of Temmei, the finer manners of Eliyonaga's self-respecting, 
though plebeian court. 

285. Yeishi. About 1787. 

I<arge color print. 

Gathering shell-fish. 
A beautiful, clear example of Yeishi' s work in the Kiyonaga manner ; 
the sweet figures bending over, with fair, loose drapery tossed in the 


queer little wiggles of Yeishi'spen, which he caught from what I have 
called the mannered style of Kiyonaga. 

286. Ye;ishi. 1787, 


Girl dreaming. 

287. Ybishi. About 1788. 

I/arge color print. 

Figures at a booth by the rice fields. 

I/cnt by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
But here Yeishi put fire into his thought, which he caught, not from 
Kiyonaga, but from gods of his own. The figures seem inspired by 
some new force which pulls them out into great sweeping lines which 
are cut by the angular forms of the half-unrolled screen-matting of a 
tea-booth, or the strong checkers of distant dyked rice-fields. 

288. Y:eiSHi About 1788 


Figures on a road by the rice fields. 
Here is the total triptych of which the last was but one piece. The 
extraordinary power is not lost in difiusion through the mass. The 
faces are as of fiery beings from another world. The landscape is 
Japan itself, warm, lazy plains of succulent rice, asleep in the lap of 
pine-crowned hills. The masses of the cryptomerias stand up strong 
and solemn as temple-gates. 

289. Yeishi. About 1789. 

I/arge color print. 

Girls under a maple tree. 
Yeishi is the one master who succeeds in growing independently 
Shunman's delicate variety of blossoming grays. But he frequently 
uses, as here, more color than the former; or, as at other times, throws 
up rich purples and cool yellows against the neutral notan. 

290. Ybishi. About 1789. 

Large color print. 

Very beautiful belle and attendants. 

Lent by Howard Mansfield of New York. 

291. Ybishi About 1789. 

Proof of ink block, and color print of same. 

Girls and double cherry tree. 
It is of the very greatest and rarest interest to compare these two 
prints side by side ; the original proof of the sharp ink block, cut so 
as to allow for the color masses of the double cherry blooms, and the 
finished resultant of all the color impressions from blocks determined 
by this proof It is one of Yeishi's most splendid compositions, in 
which nature and man are of equal factorial value. 


292. Yeishi About 1790. 

Original ink proof. 

Girls at a well. 

293. Yeishi About 1792. 

Ivarge color print. 

Interior group. 

294. Yeishi About 1792. 


Interior of a Yoshiwara palace. 

This triptych, in sparkle of design, force of drawing, largeness of mass- 
ing, purity of color, sharpness of impression, and fineness of preserva- 
tion, is surely one of the greatest works of Yeishi, we, of a century 
later, shall ever be privileged to see. 

295. Yeishi About 1794. 


Interior of a palace by the Bay of Yedo. 
Here the new, taller, and looser feeling of Kuansei first begins to 
assert itself. 

296. Yeishi. About 1798. 

Very large color print. 

Three girls resting. 
In this print of remarkable size and shape, the Kuansei degeneration 
is in full blast. Striking as the composition is, and fi-ee as is its flow, 
there is a vulgarity in proportion, in feature, and in the very abandon 
of the drawing which reveals a taste of a populace finally and irrevo- 
cably cut off firom all ideals, social or artistic. 

297. Yeishi. About 1800. 

I<arge color print. 

TaU standing girls under wistaria. 

In presence of this new type we could hardly believe that we were in 
such close connection with a Kiyonaga original, were it not that we 
can trace, year by year, every step of the rapid change. The almost 
absurd elongation of the figure, by this date reaches its extreme ; 
and the distortion of the features has obliterated all trace of the 
Kiyonaga type. Yet there is a beauty and a swing in this very free- 
dom which especially endear it to all artist souls who, in their own 
struggles against tradition, are inclined to over- value freedom at the 
expense of solid pictorial construction. 

298. Yeishi About 1802. 

Painting on a panel. 

Tall girl at toilet. 


299- Yeishi. About 1805. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Very fashionable girl. 
Soon after the beginning of the century, Yeishi, the first of the three 
satraps, was driven from his domain of color printing by the pressure 
of the other two. Possibly he could not keep pace with their rapid 
progress. Originally trained as a painter, it was not diflScult for him 
to find occupation in reminiscence of his early work. Certain it is 
that from 1805 to about 18 15 he poured forth a torrent, so to speak, 
of rapid brush-work, characteristic of Yedo beauties more natural than 
the odd combinations into whose muddy depths the school of printing 
now plunged. These paintings are very simple in line and mass, and 
often as distinguished in pose as a Hokusai. 

300. Yeisho About 1796. 


Under the cherry-trees. 
Yeisho is the most original of Yeishi' s many pupils. 

301. Ykisho About 1798. 


Girls in attendance on Daimio. 

302. Yeistji. About 1803. 

Large color print. 

The flute lesson. 

303. Nagasyoshi About 1796. 

Ivarge color print. 

Girls in boats. 
This man was evidently a personal pupil of Kiyonaga, taking the first 
character of his name from his master's last, as Kunisada did from 
Toyokuni. He is a designer of power. 

304. KiYOMiNE About 1804. 

Large color print. 

Lady looking at cherry blossoms. 

Lent by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 
Kiyomine is one of the next generation of Torii to Kiyonaga, and the 
latter's personal pupil. Some of his designs have exceptional elegance. 

305. KiTAGAWA UTAMARO About 1 777. 

Painting in ink on a large kakemono. 

Hotei and boys, wrestling. 
"We now come to a man about whom there has been more talk in the 
West than any of the Ukioyeshi, except Hokusai. He has been honored 
with a volume all to himself. French collectors have vied with one 


another to become the possessors of his choicest pieces. He has been 
reckoned by some the central figure of Ukioye. Surely such a man 
must have been a commanding genius. But, since our purpose in this 
catalogue is to say only things which have never yet been said, and 
whose knowledge has been deduced at first hand from the testimony 
of the objects themselves, it behooves us to make our independent 

There can be no question but that, of the three satraps of Kuansei, 
Utamaro holds the hegemony. Yet, at first, he is one of the many 
aspirants for office under Kiyonaga. As an exponent of Kiyonaga's 
ideas, Utamaro shows considerable originality ; but, as the years of 
Kuansei come with their new tastes, Utamaro first finds full scope for 
his powers. It is vain for the admirers of Utamaro to rank him chiefly 
for his work in Temmei. That which is most Utamaroish in Utamaro 
is a new art, one which appeals to a new populace, an art of a new 
age, whose coarser habit of mind stimulates a powerful but coarser 

Why should there have been a new age ? It was a period of crisis 
in Tokugawa afiairs. The cleavage between the aristocratic and the 
plebeian strata of Japanese life, which had become placidly conscious of 
itself in the days of Genroku, now threatened a moral, a social, if not 
a political disruption. The new factors of popular education,— art, 
prints, illustrated books, the theatre, novels, contact with the Dutch 
at Nagasaki, — all had stimulated a spirit of inquiry and of unrest 
which had penetrated back in investigation to the facts of the Sho- 
gun's usurpation ; which wrote new, popular histories of the national 
life ; which gave plays and novels a semi-political aim. This deeper 
wave of self-consciousness on the part of the people was met by the 
authorities with sterner repressions. The better elements that might 
have drifted into improving the popular standards in pleasure and in 
art were driven out by a stricter censorship. There was thus a sort 
of natural, or unnatural selection which tended to isolate and give 
prominence to the coarser side of the popular feeling. If the issue 
were squarely made between Confucius and rank demoralization, there 
was little resource for the commoner but to choose the latter. Thus 
there arose a sort of alliance between the theatre and the houses of 
pleasure on the one hand, and the disaffected among the literary and 
political agitators upon the other. Men, great men who sowed the 
seed of the revolution which ripened in 1868, had to flee for asylum, 
not to Buddhist temples, but to the labyrinths of Yoshiwara, where, in 
the care of a romantic love lavished upon them by its then highly cul- 
tivated hetaircB, they could print and disperse, from their hidden 
presses, seditious tracts which set the heart of a nation on fire. It 
was not the ideals of a ripe self-consciousness, such as Kiyonaga had 
attempted ; it was a struggle of living desires against womout con- 


ventions and hopeless tyrannies. Hence, tiie two phases of a new 
Ukioye art— its pressure outward to fuller scientific realisms, and its 
frank recreations in the vulgarities of its surroundings. This passing 
phase of affairs Utamaro well knew. Himself frequently an inmate of 
Yoshiwara, he knew the authors, the agitators, the female intriguers, 
the pet actors and wrestlers, writers of cheap novels, cutters of vulgar 
prints,— all this feverish life he breathed ; of it, so far as Ukioye 
allowed him, he became an exponent. 

Yet Utamaro had been originally reared in a different nest. He 
had been a pupil of the more fastidious Sekiyen, an artist who 
devotes himself to fine book illustrations, and who, as his other 
name of Toyofiisa attests, had been probably a fellow pupil with 
Toyoharu of the veteran Ishikawa Toyonobu. Sekiyen was, too, a 
splendid painter ; and Utamaro' s earliest achievements were in 
strong brush-work, at which time he took from his master the 
name Toyoaki. It is interesting to notice that both of our remain- 
ing satraps have borne the name "Toyo." Toyoaki painted, at first 
Kano, or Chinese subjects ; but soon after 1780 his attention was 
drawn to Kiyonaga's growing success. From 1782 to 1785, now 
dropping the name Toyoaki, he made a series of experiments on print- 
designing, approximating more and more to Kiyonaga's manner, which 
he did not perfectly assimilate until 1786 or 1787. After Kiyonaga's 
withdrawal, Utamaro carried his style to richer and more lavish com- 
position ; crowding figures together in truer perspective, finishing the 
landscape details with more naturalism, exhibiting for the moment, in 
color as well, the power of a supreme master. But in a few years 
more the Kuansei decay of exaggerated proportions was upon him, a 
desire for strained attitudes, bizarre combinations, long sweeps of 
drawn line in drapery more picturesque than dignified. It is this 
looser and exaggerated style of the day which gave Utamaro oppor- 
tunity to follow his somewhat wayward genius. His treatment of such 
themes is more creative, more free than Yeishi's or Toyokuni's. It is 
this somewhat unhealthy sestheticism, too, which has influenced 
modem French and other art in its effort to free itself from Western 
conventionality. In short, Utamaro was a Parisian of his day, a 
thorough " degenerate " of the end of the last century, who no doubt 
was cut to pieces by many a Confucian Nordau. All this Utamaro- 
ness of Utamaro comes in after the year 1796, on which some of the 
European authorities would have it that he died. The truth is that 
Utamaro went up on the wave of dolichocephalic, spindle-legged 
monstrosities to its Kiowa culmination in 1801, and came down again 
into the awkward and short-legged proportions of Bunkwa. There 
has been great talk among collectors and dealers of a second Utamaro, 
and I find that they ascribe many of Utamaro' s important works to 
this unimportant successor ; but, if the carefully dated list of works 


here exhibited is studied, it will be seen that there is complete con- 
tinuity in modification of head-dress, proportion, color, costume, com- 
position, and handwriting in the signature, from his Kiyonaga days to 
his last most outlandish styles which have been considered most 
typical of Utamaro the second. While I do not say that there was no 
such latter man, nor deny that there are books which set Utamaro's 
death at all dates between 1796 and 18 10, the testimony of the prints 
themselves is indisputably that he worked down very nearly to the 
last named date. In this way he came into full contact with the rising 
genius of Hokusai, who, while he absorbed much from Utamaro, soon 
distanced the latter in the vigor and the variety of his realism. 

In this painting we have an almost unique example of Utamaro'* 
early painting, in the style of his master, Sekiyen, contemporary with 
the now, to us, ancient Koriusai, earlier than Kiyonaga' s illumina- 
tion ; a work strong in great qualities of drawing and in its treatment 
of grays, but as yet unconscious of all the influences that are to deter- 
mine the later manifestations of its genius. It is signed Utamaro 
Toyoaki. In some works of this day he signs Toyoaki alone. 

306. Utamaro About 1781. 

Large color print. 

Assisting at the toilet. 

Here we see one of our artist's earliest prints. It has all the character- 
istics of his painting as revealed in the next number. It is one of the 
most lavish and ambitious and glorious prints ever designed, but in 
a transition style that could not last. 

307. Utamaro. About 1781. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Girls, and child frightened by mouse. 

Here Utamaro's brush power is shown in the original strokes. The 
color, too, is intense, and unlike anything else. The drawing of the 
pattern so as to exhibit relief is remarkable. The figures stand for- 
ward with real presence. In some respects no later work of this 
versatile artist is as fine. Utamaro comprises a whole host of schools 
locked up in his single and not over-long career, of which schools or 
manners this is already the second. It shows strong traces of Kiyo- 
naga' s influence ; if it were the work of an older man, it and the 
preceding print would almost threaten Kiyonaga with rivalry. 

308. Utamaro About 1782. 

Small color print. 

Girls warming themselves at a Kotatsu. 
This print, if it be indeed by Utamaro, as seems probable, has suc- 
ceeded well in amalgamating some of Kiyonaga's strongest qualities 
with his own. 





UTAMARO About 1785. 

I^arge color print. 

Three very tall girls by a river. 

But in this print Utamaro seems to have tried a very different sort of 
experiment ; indeed, one not so very unlike the long-legged style which 
he tried again fifteen years later. Even Kiyonaga's work of 1785 is 
very tall ; and here Utamaro dropped the thick-stroke of his brush 
which had characterized previous work, and tried a delicate hair-line 
not at all like his own or Kiyonaga's. The result is something inter- 
esting, but weak and transitional. 

Utamaro About 1787. 


Seeking shelter from a shower. 

Here Kiyonaga's manner is more fully mastered, but there are traces 

of the mood of weak effeminacy. 

Utamaro About 1788. 

I^arge color print. 

Man with two girls in a garden. 
But in this experiment something of the well-known Utamaro manner 
appears. It is a strong composition in Kiyonaga's style, but with a 
richer landscape backgroimd. It is one of his most splendid works. 

. Utamaro About 1789. 

Set of two color prints. 
Ladies travelling in a kago. 

, Utamaro About 1790. 

I^arge color print. 

Night scene on the river. 

I<ent by George W. Vanderbilt of New York. 

The absorption of the Kiyonaga manner is now as complete as it will 

ever be. 

314. Utamaro About 1792. 

Large color print. 

Group of girls in an interior. 
This is one piece of Utamaro's most remarkable triptych. The year 
1792 seems to have been one of very rich achievement at the hands of 
Kiyonaga's followers. Shuncho, Yeishi, Toyokuni and Utamaro 
seem to have done their ripest work in it. Here there is a new 
abandon of pose in remarkable perspective groupings, whose architec- 
ture and screen-work are finely drawn. 

315. Utamaro About 1792. 

Large color print. 

Group and interior. 
This is another of the same triptych, only it appears in a scale of 




coloring different from usual. In some prints of this subject, as here, 
red as a beautiful rose predominates. In others, as in the first, its 
place is taken by a powerful black. This, for color, is about the most 
brilliant of any single-sheet print of Utamaro I have ever seen. 

316. Utamaro About 1792- 


Group in an interior, dancing, with garden in the distance. 

Fortunately we can here exhibit the whole triptych of which we have 
just described two portions. A comparison of the section on the left 
with No. 315 will show well the variety of effect which these designers 
can produce with a single set of blocks. On the whole, we think this 
the finest work of Utamaro in the Kiyonaga manner. 

317. Utamaro About 1794. 

lyarge color print. 

Bust of girl. 

318. Utamaro About 1795. 

I^arge color print. 

I^arge head of girl. 
In this print and the preceding we mark a gradual elongation in the 
head, which is characteristic of the new Kuansei manner. At the 
same time the top-knot at the back of the head is growing decidedly 
in size. 

Utamaro Dated 1795. 

I^arge color print. 

Group by the temple gate. 
The change is now more manifest. The heads are nearly twice as 
long as wide. The large top-knot seems to overshadow the whole 
head even with its two side wings. The necks become small, the 
shoulders narrow. Fortunately this print has that rare thing, a date, 
which enables us to determine chronologically the fashion of 1795 in 
the midst of a current of rapid change. 

Utamaro About 1796. 

I^arge color print. 

Eagle on a tree. 
At this date Utamaro issued some of his finest books, illustrated with 
drawings of birds and flowers and animals in colors. This single print 
is almost as strong as a painting in ink by Sesshu. 

Utamaro About 1797. 


Girls at toilet. 

Utamaro' s types, through their accuracy and multiplicity, give us the 
best series from which to determine the yearly styles from 1792 on- 





ward. To them we have to refer parallel determinations in the case 
of Yeishi, Toyokuni, and even Hokusai. This is the very centre of 
the distinctive Utamaro manner. It is not merely that the types are 
unnatural ; it is that they betoken an interest in the bizarre and the 
slovenly. All that I have said of this rapid degeneration which 
Utamaro leads is here typified. The exaggerated top-knot is now- 
puffing into a balloon which seems to outweigh the whole head. 

322. Utamaro About 1798. 

I/arge color print. 

Girls under a wisteria arbor. 

lycnt by Clarence Buckingham of Chicago. 
Who can deny a certain kind of beauty and charm to this character- 
istic print ? In the faces there is still a trace of Kiyonaga, as if his 
style had been distorted in a bad mirror. The eyes have become short 
slits, the nose as long as a horse's, the mouth not big enough to swal- 
low the ladies' pipe, the arm hardly twice as thick as its stem. The 
balloon has become as big as a modem sleeve, and seriously challenges 
comparison with a neighboring lantern. What I mean by the loose- 
ness of drawing can be seen in the flabby folds about the neck. The 
ladies look as if their clothes were tumbling off. One wonders, too, 
what sort of ungainly thing they are carrj'ing in their obis. And yet 
the technical beauties of the print and its handling of color are as fine 
as ever. But in the realism of the woollen mat, which is actually 
printed with mixed fibres like felt, we see the cloven foot. 

323. Utamaro About 1798. 

Painting on a panel. 

Girl writing a letter. 

324. Utamaro About 1799. 

Large color print. 

Girl as Daimio looking at Fujiyama. 

Ivcnt by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 
What fine out-of-door compositions Utamaro can concoct out of such 
queer proportions is here manifest. The very looseness of the drawing 
leads to queer, large spaces that can be broadly filled with black, white, 
and red. Set these values finely against pines and a graded sky, and 
you have a vivacity of picturesque efiect which is decidedly taking. 
How much Hokusai drew from Utamaro' s manner in these respects, 
we shall soon see. There are prints of Hokusai which, if unsigned, 
might easily be mistaken for such Utamaros as this. 

325. Utamaro About 1800. 


Three belles with background of Hoo. 


326. Utamaro About 1801. 

I<arge color print. 

Two very tall girls at temple door. 

Here we reach the extremity of proportion. Though the head proper 
is about three times as high as it is wide, yet the whole figure is about 
twelve times as high as these heads. The fabulous yards of dress- 
goods required to clothe these giantesses give Utamaro's pen a mag- 
nificent opportunity of running away with itself and getting lost 
somewhere in the labyrinth of the skirts. 

327. Utamaro About 1802. 

Painting on a panel. 

Court lady with a dog. 
This remarkably careful painting is atmost indistinguishable in touch 
and in color from some of Hokusai's contemporary work. Had it not 
been signed I should probably have criticised it to be a Hokusai. 

328. Utamaro About 1802. 

Painting on a panel. 

Lent by George W. Vanderbilt of New York. 
Girl coming from the bath, and another fanning her Hibachi. 
But a triumph in painting, all his own, is shown in this panel. The 
freedom, the picturesque sash, the frank rendering of vulgar natures, 
the superb drawing and coloring of the checked bath-robe are all so 
masterly that a French artist of the present day might envy them, and 
Hokusai himself hardly surpass them. 

329. Utamaro About 1803. 


Man hiding under a girl's sleeve. 
And now begins the descent toward Bunkwa. It is a new phase of 
Utamaro. The heads are still a broad oval, though the bodies are 
shortening. But there is now a hint of that later well-known Uta- 
maro manner in which he gives us so many compositions of large 
heads and busts. 


Utamaro About 1804. 

Large color print. 

Man and woman under an umbrella. 

Ivcnt by Clarence Buckingham of Chicago. 
Here is a splendid specimen of later Utamaro work. After the excess 
and riot of Kiowa, though the balloon top-knot is still large, the style 
seems sobriety itself. But there is now a strongly marked slant in 
the slit eyes, which, with the long, angular nose and thin cheek, gives 
us an unpleasant type of face quite unUke Kiyonaga's. This change 
seems enormous when one marks its extremes ; but its phases have 
slid into one another imperceptibly. 


331- Utamaro. About 1804. 

lyarge color print. 

Boy, giri, and cherry blossoms. 

332. Utamaro About 1805. 

I^arge color-print. 


What picturesque out-of-door effects Utamaro can get with this new 
style are here disclosed. 

333. Utamaro 1805. 

Ivarge color print. 

Silkworm culture. 
Utamaro here tries an experiment in color, too, in which purples, 
yellows, and blacks shall strike the chord. 

334. Utamaro About 1805. 


Three groups under cherry-trees. 

If No. 316 be Utamaro's finest triptych in his earlier manner, this can 
perhaps be said to be the finest in his later. In no other does he 
give us such a three-movement symphony in the new colors. His 
masses are almost disdainfully angular. There is no question of 
grace, yet there is great force in their filling with flat values. The 
wings at the sides of the hair remain much as they have been for the 
last ten years ; but the size of the balloon is subsiding. On the cen- 
tral girl is here a fine specimen of the two-lobed back-knot, which 
seems all along to have been optional as a substitute for the balloon. 
The work of these years, 1804-05, is so distinctive, that it seems 
almost to reach a new aesthetic culmination on the downward slope of 

334A. Utamaro. About 1806. 

I,arge color print. 

I^arge heads of girls. 

Here is the well-known Utamaro type of composition in large heads 
and busts. The forehead above the eyebrows has become both ab- 
surdly short and narrow. The wings now take on a new shape, that 
of Bunkua, in which the lower edge is a convex, rather than a con- 
cave curve. 

335. Utamaro. About 1807. 

Large color print. 

Girls gathering persimmons. 
The Bunkua shape of the wings is becoming more marked ; about 
evenly convex now on upper and lower edges, swollen out half way 
between base and tip, the sharp point of the tip coming opposite to 


the centre of the base. This is a most picturesque treatment of a 
familiar grouping. 

336. Utamaro. About 1810. 


Girls on the sea-shore. 
Here is a work in the very latest style of those signed Utamaro. It 
can hardly be of earlier date than 1809. It has all the characteristics 
of the extremely debased style— face, form, proportion, and coarse 
patterning — which are to rule in the coming age. It is inconclusive to 
point to its manifest inferiority to earher works by this master, and 
say that, therefore, it is by another hand. The works of all masters 
who pass through this trying period manifest a parallel descent ; Toyo- 
kuni, Toyohiro, Yeizan, Kunisada, in short, everyone but Hokusai, 
and he excepted only because his genius was exactly suited to make 
something fine out of it, as Utamaro's had been for the proportions of 
1797. Every single difference between this print and the last can be 
shown for a parallel interval in the works of all these men. Had 
Utamaro lived and worked to this date, it is a priori certain that this 
is just about the kind of work he would have produced. Surely 
there is no one of his other many pupils capable of such originality, 
such brilliancy, such coloring. And yet it was unquestionably a case 
of inevitable decay imposed upon all artists by conditions partly 
external. The curve of ascent is hopeful, and artists die at their 
strongest. But the curve of descent is pathetic, and artists' reputa- 
tions are eclipsed without influence upon a future which is destined to 
be different in its still greater hopelessness. 

337 Utagawa Toyokuni. About 1786. 


We have now come to the last of the three lords of Kuansei. Toyo- 
kuni, the greatest pupil of Utagawa Toyoharu, derives his name from 
that ancient Toyonobu, friend and successor of the great Okumtura, 
who became the point of divergence for so many subsequent lines. 
Toyokuni had this advantage over his two great rivals, that he was 
already trained in a style not remote from Kiyonaga's. His change 
of allegiance to the latter was no great strain. Thus in this early 
piece we find something both ripe and sweet, blending normally fac- 
tors from Toyoharu, Shunsho, and Kiyonaga. 

Toyokuni' s genius is less wayward and aggressive than either 
Yeishi's or Utamaro's. It delights rather in graceful groupings than 
in strong situations ; at least this is the case with his designs other 
than for actor prints. His compositions are rather static than dy- 
namic, if one may be allowed the phrase. As a colorist he fairly 
holds his own, although he displays no marked originality. 


What is peculiar about him is that he now takes up the line of actor 
designing which Kiyonaga had for a few years snatched from the 
hands of the effete Shunsho. Yet it cannot be said that Toyokuni 
greatly enriched the series. His prints of actors in costume, which are 
legion, are, for the most part, coarse and careless, and betray in new 
evidence the fall in popular taste. Where, in this line, he makes a new 
departure, is in introducing the personalities of actors off the stage, 
frequently in combination with women, on picnic or boating parties. 

Another claim to distinction is that Toyokuni lies in the most direct 
line of family descent in the history of Ukioye. His great pupils, 
Kunisada and Kuniyoshi, remain leaders down to the middle of the 
century ; and Kuniyoshi's pupil, Yoshitoshi, has only just died, the 
acknowledged head of Ukioyeshi. Toyokuni's brother Toyohiro is 
not merely his alter-ego, but an original designer, whose work, how- 
ever, we shall here class with Toyokuni's. His fame half depends 
upon being the teacher of the great Hiroshige, a man who much later 
will dispute the leadership of Ukioye' s last Renaissance with Kuni- 
sada and Hokusai. 

338. Toyokuni. About 1789. 


Interior of a fan-shop. 
This triptych is one of the most stately and satisfactory of all Toyo- 
kuni's in the Kiyonaga manner. It is like a group of exquisitely 
colored statuary on an early Renaissance "fagade. The disposition 
of the dark and light, too, is as elegant as a Greek vase ; while the 
color sings, perhaps, his finest duet between lilac and black. No one 
manages the head-dress of this day with such restraint as Toyokuni. 
In no print is there a more adequate representation of the interior of a 
great shop. 

339. Toyokuni. About 1791. 

Large color print. 

I^adies behind a screen. 
Undoubtedly a detached section of a triptych, this piece shows us the 
early Kuansei type so marked in Shuncho's compositions. The trees 
of the distant garden are drawn in a clear outline, semi-European in 
curve, which is derived from the Dutch through the medium of his 
master Toyoharu. 

340. Toyokuni. About 1792. 

I^arge color print. 
Yoshiwara in cherry time. 

341. Toyokuni About 1792. 

I,arge color print. 

Yoshiwara in cherry time. 
This and the preceding are two sections of a pentaptych in which 


Toyokuni executed some of his richest work. It shows the main 
street of Yoshiwara in the time of cherry-blossoms, which cut in fine 
pinks against the solid greens of pines, through whose openings are 
seen portions of porticos and balconies. Richly-clad groups move , 
through the foreground resplendent in fine purples, centered in dark 
ochreish reds. All trace of the beni scale of coloring is carefully 
eliminated. The almost unique thing about these pieces is that no 
patch of sky whatever is shown therein, the whole composition being 
solidly built up of the local forms and colors of things. 

342. Toyokuni. About 1794. 


Dream of rats. 

In this triptych the pressure of the Kuansei degeneration has already 
melted a Httle of the stateliness out of Toyokuni's figures. He is 
forced by the very exigencies of fashion to look a little like Utamaro. 

343. Toyokuni. About 1795. 

Large color print. 

On the balcony at night. 
But in this piece he declares open rivalry with Utamaro, for it is an 
original and vivacious grouping of willowy forms and plum colors. 

344. Toyokuni. About 1795. 

Large color print. 

Ladies at a shooting-match. 

Lent by Charles J. Morse of Chicago. 

Here, in returning to primary tones, the red of beni against rich land- 
scape blues and greens, Toyokuni achieves something strange by 
avoiding the strangenesses of every one else. Compare this drawing 
of figure and head with Utamaro' s of the same date, in order to 
determine the latter's Toyokuni analogue. 

344A. Utagawa Toyohiro. About 1795. 

Painting on a kakemono. 
Group of very tall girls. 

345. Toyokuni. About 1795. 

Large color print. 

Ladies under cherry blossoms. 
Another piece from the same triptych. 

345 A. Utagawa Toyohiro. About 1795. 

In this rare painting we have the unusual composition of many tall, 
slim figures, in perfectly parallel composition, but the colors are so 
finely diversified in hue, as in shade, that we feel no monotony. 

346. Toyokuni ^^°^^ ^796. 

Large color print. 

In Yoshiwara streets. 


347- ToYOKUNi. About 1797. 

I^arge color print. 

Boats on the Bay of Yedo. 

How finely these quiet figures look out from a bridge in the Shiba 
district of Yedo, over a canal's mouth, upon the yellow waters of the 
town's great bay, where floats its ever crowded flotilla ! 

348. ToYOKUNi 1798. 


I^adies playing in the snow. 
Toyokuni's most brilliant triptych in frankly primary coloring. In 
no other print of Ukioye is thick, solid beni used with such a perfect 
tinting of rose. The white of the snow contrasts brilliantly. Com- 
pare the drawing and the hair-dressing with the 1798 types of Yeishi 
and Utamaro. 

349. ToYOKxmi AND ToYOHiRO About 1800, 


Group in temple grounds. 
Mark the long oval faces and the impossible length of bodies. 

350. Utagawa Toyohiro About 1801. 

I<arge color print. 

Girl in the snow. 

Lent by Howard Mansfield of New York. 
This is the finest and most original design by Toyohiro I have ever 
seen, expressing something in the line and feeling different from 

351. ToYOKxmi About 1803. 

I^arge color print. 

Tall girls going to a bath. 

I^nt by Howard Mansfield of New York. 

352. Toyokuni About 1803. 

lyarge color print. 

Tall girls after the bath. 
In this print and the preceding, which are two of a triptych, Toyokuni 
shows us a new type in which the coarse heads, pointed wings of the 
hair, and firm angular lines show his disposition to compete valiantly 
with Utamaro for highest honors. Indeed, it can be said that this 
later work of Toyokuni, if not his most beautiful, is his strongest; 
and in virtue of this strength, combined with Utamaro's, we can say 
that the year 1804 in some sense witnesses a momentary Renaissance, 
that is, the invention of a self-consistent style, freed from all useless 
reminiscence of Kiyonaga, as from all exaggerated conceit. 


3S3.TOYOKUNI About i8o5. 

Triptych. ^ 

Actors and belles in river boats. 

In these portraits of well-known actors, enjoying themselves with a 
boating party, Toyokuni bluffly asserts a coarseness corresponding 
with contemporary taste. 

354. Toyokuni About 1806. 

I,arge color print. 

Actor in a female part with plant. 

Yet here, in another actor portrait, we have one of his sweetest 
Bunkua female types, with its long, swollen, and pointed hair. 

355- Toyokuni About 1807. 

I^arge color print. 
Girls in the country. 

The same type of face here recurs. Compare it with Utamaro's girls 
of the same date. 

356. Toyokuni About 1809. 

Large color print. 

Fashionably dressed belle. 

In beautiful coloring of the flashy costume, backed by a pale rose sky, 
we see the completed oval and homely face, and the exaggerated 
draperies foretelling of the utter degeneration. It is perhaps a finer 
use of its material than Utamaro's in No. 336. With it Toyokuni 
disappears from our view, to be continued later, almost without a break, 
by the series of his pupil Kunisada. 

357. Sharaku • . . . . About 1797. 

Ivarge color print. 

This artist, so repulsive in his odd treatment of actors, ofiFers new evi- 
dence, if any were needed, that Kiyonaga, had he persisted in design- 
ing, would soon have stifled in a fetid atmosphere. And yet this 
arch-purveyor of vulgarities and degraded types has been hailed 
by some Western connoisseurs as a divine genius. 

358. Zatsushika Hokusai About 1782. 

Kakemonoye, signed Katsu Shunro. 

Girl dreaming. 
At last we come to the man of whom the European estimate has been 
expressed in terms amounting to panegyric. Not only has he been 
called the greatest designer of Ukioye, but the greatest Japanese artist 
of all time. Others, and especially all his own countrymen outside of 
the classes to which he catered, have condemned him as coarse, unin- 
spired, and demoralizing. There is some truth on both sides. He 


was bom an artist, without question. The world danced in fresh 
pictures before his vision ; and to see for him was to depict. He 
drew a greater variety of things, more rapidly, and more vitally, than 
any other artist of his day ; he saw pictorial relations freshly, and 
created them with individuality and spontaneity. This power over 
line, notan, and color was almost endless when he chose to exercise it. 
There is nothing out of which he could not make a composition. His 
illustrated books together compose an encyclopaedia of the world. 
And yet he never rose to the level of those great ideas which have 
made of Oriental civilization a force that can never die out of human 
culttue ; ideals of refinement, harmony, restraint, brotherhood, conse- 
cration, literary fastidiousness, the incommensurability of spirit with 
matter ; scorn of money, of worldly advantage, of any slavery to a 
mere means. His was a world cut off from all standards, except the 
intensity of its own impressions, of its pleasures. No artist ever so 
revelled childishly, genially, humorously in pure externaUty. ^stheti- 
cally, too, his pictorial ideas, though many and striking, are not 
generally of the highest, the most inward quahty. We cannot define 
what, in music, enables us to recognize the inner superiority of a 
theme, say of Beethoven as contrasted with Berlioz. One may be as 
musical as the other, and yet be not charged with some nameless 
perfection. So, in pictorial ideas, line and color themes, among those 
that are truly artistic, there is an endless difference in rank. What 
constitutes it, who can say ? And yet human consciousness is constructed 
to recognize it unerringly. So in Hokusai, there is no lack of solid 
artistic construction ; but in his themes we miss some last perfection 
of fibre, some inner tempering, some unfathomable depth, something 
which, in Uterature, constitutes the very poetry of poetry ; something 
that tones the soul like a bird's note at morning, makes it innocent 
and fragrant like a wild flower, pure as a child, of diamond texture, 
concentrating and flashing lights that no merely mortal eye hath 

And yet we have to admit that, in this very worldly side of his 
genius, lay Hokusai's peculiar power. This was the supreme oppor- 
tunity of becoming the mouth-piece of a generation. His middle age 
fell on a date, between 1800 and 1820, in which, as we have seen, the 
lower world of Yedo had surrendered itself to its own impulses, steeped 
itself in excesses, lowered its standards, defied all idealisms. That an 
artist should arise who could make of this very degraded material the 
starting point for fresh creative flights, give it, as it were, a pseudo- 
ideality abstractly assthetic, is a remarkable phenomenon. Hokusai 
is the only man who can make out of the large-headed, coarse- 
featured, glaring-eyed, slovenly- dressed, short-legged woman of 1812, 
something positively charming and picturesque. Hence we say of 
him that he did what he could to arrest the downward course of taste 


and art in evil days. Were it not for him the early years of our cen- 
tury would be almost a disgrace to Ukioye. 

It is interesting to think that Hokusai's long life of ninety years 
covers the whole culmination of the Ukioye, as well as its fall. Bora 
about seven years after the death of the octogenarian, Okumura 
Masanobu, it is literally true that the combined lives of these two men 
witnessed the total career of the art of printing, from start to finish, 
from Moronobu to Kuniyoshi. No artist ever had as many styles as 
Hokusai, or as many names. His career is protean ; he turns up, a new 
being, in every age. Powerfully affected by each new genius with whom 
he comes in contact, and absorbent as a sponge, he nevertheless trans- 
forms what he borrows in the alembic of his own masculine personality. 
He is always Hokusai. His Japan and Japanese do not look like any 
other artist's. They are charged with a Hokusai mannerism, though 
in many phases. Shunsho, Kiyonaga, Utamaro, Sori, Kunisada, 
Hiroshige, Torin, have successively left marks upon him ; yet he has 
translated their inscriptions into language of his own. But instead of 
describing these qualities beforehand, we shall let them demonstrate 
themselves in a study of his works. "We will only say of him, of his 
position in history, that, as Hartmobu is the master par excellence of 
Meiwa, Koriusai of Anyei, Kiyonaga of Temmei, and Utamaro of 
Kuansei, so in the same sense Hokusai can be regarded as the lord of 
Kiowa and Bunkua, 1801 to 1818. 

Born probably in 1759, as a boy he must have delighted ia Haruno- 
bu's first nishikiye. During Anyei he became a pupil in the actor- 
school of Shunsho, from whom, like most of the disciples, he took the 
name Katsukawa, and the syllable Shun in his artistic sobriquet 
of Shunro. Actor prints, so signed, of the last of Anyei have been 
met with ; but in the exceedingly rare print of this number we wit- 
ness an interesting work of about his twenty-third year, in which the 
quaUties of the Shunsho school are combined, as in those of most of 
his contemporaries, with an attempt to make a transition to the 
manner and the physiognomy of Kiyonaga in the days of the latter's 
culminating power. It is not remarkable as a color-composition, but 
it already reveals independent power of drawing and of line con- 

359. Hokusai, signed Shunro About 1790. 

Ink proof, before colors. 

Chinese boys disputing over a game. 
This piece is important and rare in four respects : first, that it is an 
ink proof ; second, thatitshowsHokusai'scompletemastery of Kiyon- 
aga' s manner ; third, that it is his first representation of children, in 
which subject he afterwards achieves such striking success ; and fourth, 
that it reveals a wealth of supple line and of line composition hardly 
inferior to Kiyonaga's. 


359A- HiSHiGAWA SoRi About 1796. 

I^arge painting on kakemono. 

Group of girls and child. 
A comparison with Utamaro's work will reveal that, after Kiyonaga's 
withdrawal, Hokusai fell strongly under the influence of the rising 
Utamaro. All the growing exaggerations of proportion are reflected in 
his work. Up to 1796 or 1797 he has still signed himself " Shunro " ; 
but now we find him using the signature " Sori." As to the existence 
of an independent artist, Sori, from whom Hokusai derived style 
and name, the evidence is doubtful. Paintings and prints are met 
with signed " Hishigawa Sori," " Tawaraya Sori," " HiakurinSori," 
" Sori," and " Hokusai Sori." In the lack of trustworthy documents 
we must look to internal evidence ; and here it seems tolerably clear 
that most of these signatures are by a single hand, and used over com- 
mon seals. It is customary with dealers now to speak of them all as 
"Hokusai"; and there can be little doubt that most of them are 
indeed by his hand. The chief doubt lies with the work of " Hishi- 
gawa Sori," of which this is the most splendid specimen I have ever 
seen. If there be a Sori, master of Hokusai, this is indeed he. The 
student must judge for himself whether this be not, after all, another 
of Hokusai' s many phases. It has a free, realistic sweep of line, and 
a breadth of solid, opaque color, quite tmlike anything which, has 
before appeared, but to which the pictorial work of both Utamaro and 
Hokusai now practically approximates. Whether it be the revolu- 
tionary work of Hokusai himself, or of his tmknown, mysterious 
master, it is of equal interest. 

360. Hokusai, signed Sori. About 1796. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Young Daimio with a fan. 
This sketch, undoubtedly by Hokusai, is one of his most powerful and 
freest bits of drawing, showing already absolute mastery of the new 

361. Hokusai, signed Sori About 1797. 

Paintings on a pair of kakemono. 

Girls playing battledore at New Year's. 
In this fine pair of paintings the rough strength and picturesque- 
ness of Hokusai's Sori manner in color work is well shown. Nothing 
with such dash and breadth of blended tones has before been done in 

362. Hokusai, signed Sori About 1797. 

I,arge color print. 

Girls watching fishermen on the bay. 

lyent by George W. Vanderbilt of New York. 
Here is a print which corresponds to Hokusai's early Sori painting. 


His power to render the infinity of atmosphere with a few flat tones, 
perfect in texture and value, is marvellous. 

363. HoKusAi, signed Sori About 1798. 

Very wide color print. 

The ferryboat. 

In this print there is an approximation to Utamaro, both in figure, 
proportion, and in artistic quality. 

364. HOKUSAI About 1800. 

I^arge color print. 

Faggot girls coming down from the mountain. 

In this magnificent print we see the ripening style of the man who 
now, at once, rises from his Sori manner to that which makes him 
lord of the age, and now first assumes the name through which his 
power shall be blazoned to all ages. Combined breadth and delicacy 
of atmospheric effect can hardly go farther. 

365. HoKUSAi About 1802. 


Group of wild street dancers. 

366. HoKUSAi About 1804. 

Painting on a large eight-panelled screen. 

Group of women of all types. 

We have already seen that the early years of the nineteenth century 
show, in some sense, the self-conscious culmination of a new style 
adapted to the freer taste of the day, as shown in the work of both 
Utamaro and Toyokuni. If anything more were needed to prove it an 
epoch for creation, it would be this broadest, largest, most powerful, 
most unexpected, and most marvellous of all Hokusai's works. I 
must confess that, before I had seen it, and when I wrote the Hokusai 
catalogue for my exhibition of his work at the Boston Art Museum, I 
was ignorant of the supreme height he could reach. Vulgar or other- 
wise, the startling, creative quality in some of the line, dark and light, 
and color ideas rises well-nigh to the point of sublimity. The figures, 
of life size, give an opportunity, rare in Japanese art, of direct com- 
parison with the great mural and portrait painting of Europe. There 
is no master of the latter, from Durer or Titian, through Velasquez, 
down to Sargent and Whistler, who would not have hailed this 
work as one of the world's transcendent masterpieces. Not only do 
the figures impose themselves with real presence, like Matahei's, but 
each figure is a fresh study of action, costume, and sentiment. The 
great sweeps of the broad brush are utterly without manner, yet vital ; 
and in the varying degrees of their depth, organic in expressing the 
qualities of relief, and texture of stuffs. How magnificently the last 
quality is shown in the outlines of the black upon the left-hand, kned- 


ing figure ! How, too, in gorgeousness of line-sweep the standing 
figure on tlie right resembles, yet far surpasses, Utamaro ! In notan 
the play is hardly less broad. The groups at the extreme ends are 
combinations of line and notan idea, hardly less wonderful than those 
of Okumura at his greatest. In color, too, there are sumptuous pas- 
sages, especially in the two groups just mentioned. Such combinations 
of quiet blues and browns and greens, as on the left ; such contrast of 
broad blacks and reds, as on the right, have not before been seen. In 
the use of pattern, again, Hokusai combines beauty and expression. 
What could be more superb than the flossy storks and clouds upon the 
black satin, or the dead-brown checks against the changeable green ? 
Or, again, of the blue cotton fabrics in one of the standing figures on 
the left. The branch of cherry blossoms, set in the bundle of faggots 
by the girl whose head is covered with a kerchief, is a perfectly 
S}nnpathetic treatment of this national flower. Lastly, the group of 
utensils upon the tray is rendered with a directness and force which 
inclines us to call them unrivalled by any school of still-life painting. 
In short, this is one of those rare, comprehensive works, in which all 
knowledge, all life, all power, all feeling, all beauty are combined. It 
is hardly possible that any greater work of Hokusai yet remains for 
the world to discover. It would require weeks of study to exhaust 
its interest and value. 

367. Hokusai About 1806. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Heron on the post of a bridge. 

368. Hokusai, signed Taito About 1810. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Young girl under a cherry-tree. 

Lent by Ernest F. Fenollosa of Boston. 
Yet, for a small painting, and for pure beauty and sentiment, this piece 
rises for a moment to a more interior value. It is not merely the ex- 
treme of instantaneous dash, the power of broad rendering. There is 
a charm in the very freedom of the girl herself, in the suggestions of 
the purity of the washes in relation to the purity of the cherries, in a 
Ituninous sweetness of color, almost unique in Hokusai's work. And 
this is the very type of girl, in head, in proportion, in slovenly dress- 
ing, whom other contemporary Ukioyeshi, Yeizan, Yeisen, Kunisada, 
make so hideous. 

369. Hokusai, signed Hokusai Taito About 1813. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Girl with a long pipe. 

Now, for the first time, appears a certain hardening of Hokusai's style 
into formality, the beginning of the well-known Hokusai mannerism 
which marks his later work. Heretofore he has given us a sublima- 


tion of what Utamaro and Toyokuni aimed at. Now he is something 
entirely new, the very Hokusai of Hokusai. 

370. HoKTJSAi, signed Taito About 1815. 

Small color print. 

I<andscape with bridge. 

Here, too, we see the beginning of Hokusai' s peculiar manner inland- 
scapes. It is contemporary with some of his strongest work in book 

371. Hokusai Probably about 1818. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Cock on a drum. 

372. Hokusai About 1825. 

Painting on a panel. 

Group of travellers by a river. 

Here appears still a new phase of our master. It is a day when a new 
love for nature is about to dawn. The excesses of Bunkua are past. 
Japanese have conceived a passionate love for travelling about in their 
own beautiful land. It is an age when illustrated guide-books of all 
famous scenes abound. It is the moment when Hiroshige and Kuni- 
sada are about to turn single-sheet printing into a glorification in colors 
of Japanese landscape. From now on Hokusai shares with these two 
in a sort of triumvirate. It is the last attempt at a Renaissance in the 
history of Ukioye. Already by the authorities extravagance has been 
repressed. Sumptuary laws have been passed for the Daimios, the 
expenses of the Shogun's court have been retrenched, the people turn 
their attention toward new standards of purity as mirrored in simple, 
natural beauty. 

This is one of the earliest of Hokusai's crowded out-door composi- 
tions. The details of landscape are drawn in a transitional manner, 
but the figures already show much of his final form. 

373. Hokusai About 1830. 

Ivarge color print. 

Dragging a net through a stream. 

374. Hokusai About 1830. 

I^arge color print. 

Farming scene in the country. 
This most careful and brilliantly colored print is the finest of his early 
series of landscape studies in this form. 

375. Hokusai About 1830-35. 

Large color print 

Daimio walking. 


375 A. HoKUSAi. About 1730, 

Painting on a panel. 
A most wonderful painting, showing Hokusai's drawing of animal life. 

376. HoKUSAi About 1830-35. 

Large color print. 

Botan flowers in the wind. 

377. HoKUSAi About 1830-35. 

I^arge color print. 

Men bathing under a waterfall. 

378. HoKUSAi - . . . About 1830-35. 

I^arge color print. 

Washing a horse at 'a waterfall. 
What is this but pure Japanese Impressionism not inferior in force and 
beauty to the French variety ? 

379. HoKUSAi ■ . - . . About 1835. 

Large color print. 

View of Fujiyama under a bridge. 

Lent by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 

380. HoKUSAi About 1835. 

Large color print. 

Fujiyama with thunder-storm below, 

Lent by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 

381. HoKUSAi About 1835. 

Large color print. 

Fuji seen across the ferry. 

Lent by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 

382. HOKUSAI About 1835. 

Large color print. 

Fujiyama and boat. 
In this and the three preceding prints we have specimens of Hoku- 
sai's famous series of scenes of Fuji. This, perhaps, of all, is the 
most original and striking. It is, possibly, not too odd to say of its 
color, that it actually afiects the nerves with a pleasure so keen and 
strange that its vibrations almost pass into pain, as in hearing some 
of Chopin's music. 

383. HOKUSAI About 1835. 

Large color print. 

Fujiyama seen through the pines. 


384. HoEUSAi About 1835. 

Large color print. 

Fujiyama from the sluiceway. 
In this brilliant print, and its predecessor, also from the Fujiyama 
series, we have an ultra impressionism of color. Yet the red horses 
are not as crimson as Besnard's. 

385 and 386. HoKUSAi About 1835. 

Paintings on a pair of screens of six panels. 

Farming scenes, Fujiyama in distance. 

I/cnt by Ernest F. Fenollosa of Boston. 
These two screens reveal to us the full marvel of Hokusai's later 
painting, as the large eight-panelled one did of his earlier. He is a 
new draughtsman, and a new colorist. Here, condensed in a single 
work, we have the chief themes of the series of the Fuji prints. A 
representation of life and action in the finished Hokusai convention, 
they reach the culminating point. On the screen showing Fujisan, the 
passage of color in the central group of the cloth-beaters is the very 
richest in the whole range of Hokusai's work. The use of the chrome- 
like yellow in brilliant stipple on the tree-masses, supporting the 
cloudy background of spotted gold, gives tone to the warm orange of 
the sky, and to the cool blue-gray spaces of the marsh and the dis- 
tance. That retainers of some neighboring squire should set out a- 
hunting with hawk and dog from this typical Japanese farm-house, 
where men are rethatching the roof, piles of washed clothes are 
beaten by the women, and a boy lugs in a basket of egg-plants, while 
another fashions a grind-stone, is natural enough ; as is also the fact 
that the itinerant provision dealer should stop for a chat and a pipe 
with the man who has a circulating library done up in green on his 

387. Hokusai ^839- 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Boy on a tree, looking at Fujiyama. 

Here is Hokusai's ripe manner at the age of eighty. From this date 
onward he signs his age upon his paintings. 

388. Hokusai ^^46- 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Vine and beetle. 

This must suffice to show us what breadth of crumbling and blended 
touches Hokusai could wield in his very last manner. 

He died at the age of ninety, at a time when the chance of reviving 
Ukioye in a last Renaissance was passing away in the manifest de- 
cadence of the powers of Kunisada and of Hiroshige. With his death 
the history of Ukioye practically closes. 


389. Hok'kei About 1825, 

Ivarge color print. 

Girl crossing a bridge. 

390. HoKuju About 1835. 

I<arge color print. 

An island. 

391. HoKUBA About 1800. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Court lady. 

392. Y^iRi. About 1803. 

Painting on a wide kakemono. 

Girls and river landscape. 

393. Yeizan About 1818. 

Painting on a kakemono. 

Girl under an umbrella. 
Yeizan is a contemporary of Hokusai, who has the distinction of being 
almost the latter's only powerful rival between the years 1810 and 
1820. The showy loose fashions of the day may, in a sense, be called 
the style of Yeizan. 

394. Utagawa Kunisada. About 1806. 


Girls on the seashore. 

Lent by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 
Of the many pupils of Toyokuni, Kunisada is the best known. He 
continued the work of his master during a long life of many years, 
down to the middle of the present century. In this very early work 
of his we notice a style hardly distinguishable from that of Toyokuni. 
If any one thinks it is his finest work, it is rather because the year's 
fashion has more dignity, though less realism, than those which 

395. KuNiSADA About 1810. 

Large color print. 

Actor in snow. 

Here is the coarse style of 1812, parallel with Yeizan's, which Hokusai 
used with most satisfactory power. 

396. KtmisADA About 1812. 

Large color print. 

Girls in snow. 

397. KuNisADA About 1820. 

Painting on a panel. 

Girls under cherry trees. 

Lent by George W. Vanderbilt of New York. 

398. KuNisADA About 1825. 

Large color print. 

Girls at steps in snow. 
But now a new age, that of landscape, is dawning. Costumes and pro- 
portions are simpler and more restrained. It is the beginning of what 
I have called the last Renaissance. 

399. KuNisADA About 1830. 

Large color-print. 

Girl looking over the bay. 

Kunisada now reaches that ripeness of style which entitles him to be 
called, with Hokusai and Hiroshige, one of the triumvirate of Tempo. 
The landscape background is not inferior in drawing and in color to 
the pure landscapes of the latter master. 

400. Kunisada About 1845. 

Large color print. 

Daimio in a garden. 
Later, Kunisada' s style, as Hiroshige' s, became looser and more care- 
less. The colors are brilliant, but coarser in feeling. This is typical 
of all the finer Ukioye work between 1840 and i860. 

401. Utagawa KuNiYOSHi. About 1814. 

Large color print. 

Actor tearing snakes. 
Here is an early actor work of the second great pupil of Toyokuni. 
It shows the large eyes and coarse features of the day ; but it is very 
powerful in feeling and execution. 

402. KuNiYOSHi. About 1822. 

Large color print. 

Girls by the river. 
Here Kuniyoshi becomes for a moment more delicate and refined in 

403. Kuniyoshi About 1835. 

Large color print. 

Girl in blue. 

404. Kuniyoshi About 1840. 

Large color print. 

Landscape of Lake Biwa with Fuji in the distance. 
This is the most beautiful of aU Kuniyoshi' s landscapes ; and, in some 
respects, more rich in color than Hiroshige' s. 

405. Keisai Yeisbn ... About 1820. 

Large color print. 

Girl reading a letter. 
Yeisen, the greatest pupil of Yeizan, may be called the alter-ego 


of Kunisada. He is a fine and original fourth, with Kunisada, Kuni- 
yoshi, and Hiroshige. 

406. YeisEn About 1828. 

Very large color print. 


I^nt by George W. Vanderbilt of New York, 
This, though injured, has the finest warm atmosphere of all Ukioye 

407. Yeisen. ... About 1830. 

Large color print. 

Temple grounds at Yedo. 
This is one of his most solidly composed landscapes. 

408. Yeisen About 1835. 

Large color-print. 

Landscape, Fujiyama in distance. 

409. Yeisen Abont 1835. 

Large color print. 

Leading laden cows in the rain. 

In this splendid landscape, Yeisen betrays some influence firom 
Hokusai as well as firom Hiroshige. 

410. Yeisen About 1840, 

Very large color print. 

Carp ascending a waterfall. 

411. Yeisen About 1840. 

Large color print. 

Snow landscape with pines. 

412. Hiroshige About 1822. 

Large color print. 

Girl awakening. 
We now come to the last important figure in Ukioye history. We 
have briefly noticed the causes which led to landscape designing. 
Hiroshige is easily the leader in this movement. In no other school 
does Japanese landscape receive adequate treatment, except in the 
contemporary Shijo school of Kioto ; and even in this there is almost 
no color. Hiroshige is unquestionably one of the greatest and most 
original of the world's landscape designers. At first a pupil of Toyo- 
hiro, he soon, as in this early figure composition, reveals new dramatic 
power. This is really startling in power, making us think, in its in- 
tense feeling, of Sir Joshua's subject, Mrs. Siddons as the Tragic 


413- HiROSHiGS About 1825. 

I<arge color print. 

Travellers on tlie highroad. 
I shall not now attempt to follow through the changes in Hiroshige's 
many landscapes. The dates appended are eloquent enough. Speak- 
ing generally, his earlier landscapes are his finest ; but there are 
exceptions to this rule. His accuracy to local detail is so great that 
travellers in Japan to-day can easily recognize his scenes. No part of 
this picturesque country escaped his observation ; but he is especially 
happy in treating the many aspects of his native Yedo. His figures, 
like those of his great contemporary, Turner, are sometimes hardly 
more than lay figures, spots in the landscape, yet vigorous in their 
suggested action. That some of his most delicate landscape efiects 
can be achieved with flat blocks is a marvel. His work is of special 
value to our landscape students in the West. 

414. HiROSHiGE About 1828. 

Ivarge color print. 

Travellers at lunch. 

415. HrROSHiGE About 1828. 

I^arge color print. 

Across the marshes. 

416. HrROSHiGE ' . . • . About 1828. 

l^arge color print. 

Porters packing burdens. 

417. HiROSHiGB About 1830. 

I^arge color print. 

Moonlight in Yoshiwara. 

418. HiROSHiGE. . • -^bout 1830. 

I^arge color print. 

In the temple grounds at Shiba. 

419. HiROSHiGE About 1830. 

Large color print. 

Boats in Yedo Bay. 

420. HiROSHiGE -A.bout 1832. 

Large color print. 

Temple garden in spring, 

421. HiROSHiGS About 1832. 

Large color print. 

View on Lake Biwa. 

422. HIROSHIGE -A^o"* ^^38. 

Large color print. 

View of cherry trees at Koganei, 


423. HiROSHiGB About 1838. 

I/arge color print. 

River scene with ships. 

424. HiROSHiGE About 1838. 

Large color print. 

River view by moonlight. 

425. HiROSHiGE . About 1840. 

I^arge color print. 

Nihonbashi in snow. 

426. HiROSHiGE About 1840. 

lyarge color print. 

River view at Asakusa. 

427. HiROSHiGE. About 1840. 

I^arge color print. 

Crossing the bridge by moonlight. 

428. HiROSHiGE. About 1840. 

I^arge color print. 

Spring scene. 

429. HiROSHiGE. About 1840. 

I^arge color print. 

Parrot on tree. 

430. HiROSHiGE. About 1840. 

I^arge color print. 

View of Tsukuba mountain. 

431. HiROSHiGE. About 1842. 

Upright color print. 

Canal in snow. 

lycnt by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 

432. HiROSHiGE. About 1842. 

Upright color print. 

Spring scene. 

I,ent by Frederick W. Gookin of Chicago. 

433. HiROSHiGE. About 1842. 

Very large color print. 

Hawk on a pine branch. 

434. HiROSHiGE About 1843. 

Very large color print. 

Mountain landscape in snow. 

Lent by George W. Vanderbilt of New York. 

435. HIROSHIGE About 1845. 

Very large kakemonoye. 

High bridge by moonlight. 


436. HiROSHIGE. 

"Whirlpools in river. 

About 1846. 

437. HiROSHIGE. .... 

View of shore by moonlight. 

438. HiROSHIGE. 
I^arge color print. 

River view through a circular window. 

439. HiROSHIGE. ... 
I/arge color print. 

Storks and rice fields. 

About 1846. 

About 1848. 

About 1848. 

440. HiROSHIGE. About 1848. 

Large color print. 

Yedo at night. 
Twilight effects are first adequately rendered in print by this artist. 
There is something here in feeling which even Hokusai cannot 

441. HiROSHIGE. About 1850. 


Mountains in snow. 
In this work, though late, Hiroshige, with simplest color means, and 
chiefly by his purity of line and mass, reaches almost the point of 
sublimity in landscape feeling. How superior for the rendering of 
snow is white paper to painty pigment ! 

442. HiROSHIGE. 

Painting on a panel. 
River scene in snow. 

About 1850. 

Lent by George W. Vanderbilt of New York. 

443. HiROSHIGE. About 1850. 

Painting on a panel. 

Autumn view of Fujiyama across a river. 

In this painting and the preceding we have the interesting opportunity 
of studying the master's actual touch. Such works are rare. 

Small color print. 
View at Kanagawa. 

About 1830. 


445- HiROSHiGE and Kunisada . 1830- 

Small color print. 
Mountain view on the Tokaido. 
In sucli series as this, the problem of setting colored figures against 
colored landscape backgrounds is grandly solved by the two masters 
in conjunction ; and that, too, in a way which suggests comparison 
with some of the first achievements of modern French art. 

446. HiROSHiGE and Kunisada. 1830. 

Small color print. 

View of fields on the Tokaido. 

447. HiROSHiGE and Kunisada 1850. 


Gentleman in the plum garden. 
Even to the end, these two of our triumvirate remain co-workers. 
How fine late Ukioye work can be, this piece shows. After this there 
is practically nothing but disintegration, with occasional gleams of 
traits borrowed from Europe in Kuniyoshi's pupil Yoshitoshi, until the 
new war prints of last year. 

In concluding this somewhat unusually written historical sketch, I have 
only to say that I hope I have utilized the rare occasion of this exhibition 
to make it clear how the changing works of these many masters, covering 
so long a time, classify themselves into periods more or less clearly marked by 
the broader difierences between their qualities. I have not undertaken to 
supply from books any biographical details ; only to deduce from the objects 
themselves the main evidence with regard to the phases of the art, which 
fifteen years of research among these best of original documents can yield. 
To summarize : It is clear that the work of Matahei and his successors 
through the seventeenth century aflbrds a sort of introduction to Ukioye, 
whose true centre is not reached until Moronobu inaugurates a second period 
at the century's close. A third period comes in with the eighteenth in the 
pictorial work of Choshun on the one hand, and the prints of Kiyonobu and 
Masanobu on the other ; which, in its two phases of ink work and hand- 
colored prints, lasts down to about 1743, when color-printing in two blocks 
is invented and practised by the same pair of leaders. This new work may 
be called the fourth period ; and under it we may include a second phase, 
after the death of the patriarchs, when their mantle has fallen upon Kiyo- 
mitsu, Shigenaga, and Toyonobu, who add a third block. But, by 1765, 
Shigenaga's pupil, Harunobu, inaugurates a fifth movement, that of complete 
color-printing, in which Toyoharu, Shunsho, and Shigemasa share, as parallel 
masters, even after Koriusai has taken up the work dropped by Harunobu. 
About 1780, again, commences a sixth period in the rise to dominance of 
Kiyonaga, the greatest genius of all ; who is in turn succeeded by the tri- 


umvirate of Yeishi, Toyokuni, and Utamaro in tlie seventh, between 1790 
and 1800. Hokusai succeeds to power in the ninth period, that of utter 
degradation ; while the tenth and last, of a temporary renaissance through 
landscape work, is divided between Hokusai, Kunisada, and Hiroshige. 

If now I were asked to rank the , greater of these masters by their artistic 
merit, I might perhaps produce something like the following list : of first 
rank, five, namely, Matahei, Okumura Masanobu, Harunobu, Kiyonaga, 
and Hokusai ; of second rank, eight, namely, Moronobu, Kaigetsudo, 
Kiyonobu, Kiyomasu, Koriusai, Shigemasa, Shuncho, and Utamaro ; and 
of the third rank, fourteen, namely, Choshun, Shunsui, Shunsho, Toshi- 
nobu, Mangosaburo, Shigenaga, Toyonobu, Kiyomitsu, Kiyohiro, Toyo- 
haru, Buncho, Yeishi, Toyokuni, and Hiroshige. Most of the others 
mentioned in this catalogue would be found in the fourth rank. Beside these 
the less known men are to be numbered by hundreds. 

On the whole we are inclined to award the palm to Kiyonaga, in that 
he is the central and culminating figure, with ripest mastery over all the 
technical points of the art of color-designing for prints. 

Ernbst Francisco Fbnollosa.